Christmas Eve

After all the hoopla, twas a beautiful Christmas Eve. Wrapped presents in the morning and afternoon. My wrapping methods are questionable, and the results are kittywhumpus, but it's all in the dumpster now.

Sister Tracie arrived from the Twin Cities just as I pulled into Mom and Dad's garage from picking up Aunt Olla at the Fertile Hilton. So, we had a nice group.

Mom and Joe cooked an opulent meal. Fancy pork chops. Wild rice. Baked potatoes. Squash. Fancy salad. Brocolli and cauliflower in cream. Mom's top notch pumpkin pie.

We never do much for Christmas gift giving, but everybody goes away happy with some nice surprises. This year we went nuts with food. I paid a visit to the Hutterite colony Thursday, so gave Dad and Mom some of the pickins from there. Smoked chicken, sauerkraut, summer sausage, etc.

Aunt Olla said the evening was just perfect. But then again she spent part of supper telling us what a blast the Great Depression was. I am not kidding, she said she had more fun during those years than at any other time in her life. No hunger. Once she remembers they were wishing they could have a pork roast instead of summer sausage, but then she thought a bit and realized that was probably because they hadn't butchered in a while.

Her older brother Roy took the 1929 crash hard. He had made good money for the family the year before on potatoes. The 1929 crop was just as good, but the October crash came and nobody had any money to buy potatoes and the crop went to waste. Roy had already laid the groundwork for a Delco light plant in the basement, but without the proceeds from the potatoes, that plan was put on permanent hold.

Olla brought out some historical items, including a note my Grandmother wrote her in 1977 after Grandma and Grandpa's 45th anniversary celebration. It was in Grandma's perfect and beautiful cursive handwriting. It reminded me that somewhere in my boxes is Grandma's practice book from when she learned cursive. I should frame some of those pages. They qualify as art.

Dad is into music on his computer now. Joe got him a new set of wireless headphones for Christmas, and he sits at his computer with them on rating his songs with a star system, tuning out the world.

Lance and Tracie spent time chatting about the website Lance has designed and built for himself over the past two days. Tracie is learning web design and Lance is one of these people for whom computers were as big a part of growing up as riding bicycle. It is amazing to see something so difficult come so easy for somebody with no formal training.

About 9 p.m., Olla decided it was time for bed. I took her into the Fertile Hilton and set up the gift I gave her--a remote phone she can take over to her recliner--and left. The nursing home was quiet. A couple of families were winding up holiday visits, but most of the residents were asleep. The aides looked like they were about to fall asleep as well. The halls were well decorated with garland. The nursing home had a homey feel, not a bad place to end up. As Olla says, it's "one step short of heaven."