It’s coming up on 10 o’clock the morning after Christmas and all is peaceful in the Rede abode and in our neighborhood.
Slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, and put Norah Jones and James Taylor on the CD player. (Some things don’t change.)
Outside, the distant rumble of a garbage truck making its rounds is the only sound disrupting the silence. Patches of white on the street and sidewalk bear witness to the light snowfall that we had on Christmas Eve. The mercury hasn’t moved much since then, although I’m looking at sunshine and blue skies.
For the past several weeks, the message to Buy! Buy! Buy! has been hard to escape as retailers, advertisers and marketers throw all their energy at us from every which way — print, TV, radio and especially online. We’ve gone from Black Friday to Cyber Monday to Last-Minute Bargains to End-of-Year Blowout Sales without missing a beat.
Whew. And, no thanks.
We had a quiet Christmas this year. Simple and meaningful and celebrated in two phases.
With our youngest son and his family in Missouri, we took the opportunity to visit them in early December, well ahead of the stress that comes along with Christmas travel. We enjoyed the company of Jordan, Jamie and Emalyn over the course of five days and four nights without the manufactured pressure of the holidays.
We did indulge in the spirit of the season, however, with a nighttime visit to the ranch where Anheuser-Busch raises its famous Clydesdale horses. Holiday lights, hot cocoa, handfuls of kettlecorn, and a close-up view of these magnificent animals made for a chilly but memorable evening.
Back in Portland, we celebrated the holiday on Christmas Eve with our other two children during a Five Dog Night.
Nathan and girlfriend Sara came over with Uni, their Yorkshire Terrier, and Hector, their rescue mutt. Simone came over with Quimby, my favorite Chihuahua, and Templeton, a Mini-Me version of an Irish Wolfhound. (Her wife, Kyndall, was unable to join us as she was committed to visiting family members in eastern Washington and Idaho.) Charlotte, as the rambunctious hostess, made it five four-legged creatures.
Dinner, drinks and dessert were a nice set-up for Punderdome, a card game for pun lovers. (Truth be told, the gathering also served as an early birthday celebration for yours truly.)
When it came time to leave, the streets were slick and icy enough that Simone spent the night, resulting in bonus time with our daughter on Christmas morning.
As dusk arrived, we kicked our plans into gear: Grab an early dinner at Frank’s Noodle House, a family-run joint featuring Chinese hand-pulled noodles, and then head on over to the Hollywood Theater to see “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Frances McDormand delivers a powerful performance as a strong-willed mother taking extreme measures to prod local law enforcement into doing more to solve her daughter’s murder. Great movie with a cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage.
(Interesting that the movie is set in Missouri. Not really, though. No such place as Ebbing. Plus, the film was shot in North Carolina.)
All in all, a very nice celebration. Even when it’s not possible to have all your loved ones in a single place, there’s a way to celebrate separately with meaning.