Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Holidays


Welcome to another decade in this still relatively new Millennium.  

I am sure that most people feel, both that they wish that celebration, family and friends were not over and at the same time relieved that they can relax again into their usual routines.  As we look back, however, we realize how good it was.

We went to California to be with our son, Hunter, his wife Mallory and, of course, our granddaughter, Boroughs, who will be 3 months old tomorrow.   Hunter and Mal gave us a “Nixplay Seed”, never heard of it before? Neither had I.  It is described as a Wi-Fi Cloud Frame.  Since they do not believe in introducing their daughter on Social Media at her tender age, this amazing invention allows them to send photos automatically to a screen that shows them at selected intervals.  Hunter got his siblings the same so we can all keep up.


After an overnight in Pasadena Hunter packed us into his car, engineering space for suitcases, baby gear and gifts, for the drive to Mallory’s parents’ home in Temecula where her family members were gathering from as far as Idaho to celebrate Christmas. 

There is a Yiddish word with no English translation “mishpocheh” which means family and often distant family, but everyone has a twist on that and my parents used it to describe the relationship with one’s children’s in-laws.  Our “mishpocheh” received us so warmly, including us in games, gingerbread house decorating and most of all cooking up all sorts of homemade delicacies.   Besides the actual Christmas tree, every room of the house was decked for holidays with Mallory’s mother’s collection of ornaments. The only Jewish person in the group was yours truly but they insisted we light the Menorah candles since Chanukah fell this year right over Christmas. On Christmas morning we were greeted by the entire family in newly gifted matching pajamas and night shirts.



Often gifts don’t work out as well one hoped at the time of acquisition, but one has to appreciate all the thought that went into thinking of them.  When you hit it right, however, there is nothing more satisfying to both sides.  The in-laws wanted us to take home a souvenir of Temecula which is not only known for its vineyards but also for its olive orchards, so they presented us with a selection of olive oils and dips to share at our annual New Years’ party in Santa Fe. It provided a conversation piece enjoyed by all our guests.

My daughter, Cathy, has a knack for gift-giving. For Penelope she found on Etsy a beautifully glazed fruit bowl from a ceramicist in North Carolina that recalls the Studio Craft Movement which Penelope championed in the 1970’s as a curator at the Metropolitan Museum. Since Cathy knows I love wood products I got a computer mouse and fountain pen out of wood made by a German craftsman in Nordheim who offers to make anything you want out of the wood of your choice! 

My tech-savvy older son, Daniel, gave me an Apple Pencil which I have read and talked about. I am looking forward to learning all its tricks. So far, I have tried drawing (never properly learned how) and annotating documents.  I wanted to buy my wife a CD of the book, “Time and Again” by Jack Finney which we had read to the kids when they were young but couldn’t find it. Dan had the great idea to buy her a subscription to Audible.com where you can choose a book a month to play on your computer or phone.  I make use of my subscription in the car every day on my short commute to my office and also at the gym.

As you know from my previous two Missives, Penelope and I, gave ourselves big art gifts earlier in the month.  Penelope, however, found for me a lined sweater that adapts to the weather where you are. It is ideal in the different temperatures we can experience in a day out here, which can vary by 40 degrees in 24 hours.  At The Peruvian Connection, a favorite store of Penelope’s, I found a shawl that she seems to love.

Getting back to the celebrations the tree had 3 times as many presents under it after the whole family was assembled in Temecula. The Christmas dinner was celebrated with a delicious rib roast and who do you think everyone was looking at lying in the corner of the dining room?



The individuals you interact with are the best part of these holidays. Relieved as you may be when the season is over, within a short time you can’t wait until next year to repeat the experience.

2 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Penelope & Gerald,

    Wonderful story about your extended Christmas holidays. I remember Hunter when he was "so high" - HA! HA! A dad now, wow. It's always great receiving that 'perfect' gift and you all lucked-out, it seems, this round. In my group I'm known for having that gift-giving knack; that's why I shop year-round. Stop laughing!

    Wishing you & your extended Family all the Best in 2020!

    Bill

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