Sunday, January 1, 2023


We spent this Christmas with my older son, Danny, and his family in Traverse City, Michigan. Being right on the Lake Michigan, the town is known to get an average snow fall of 125-145 inches per year. Adding to their normal winter weather we learned that the “Blizzard of a Generation” was on its way across the country and airports were shutting down. After much anguish we decided to go for it anyway, quite prepared that we might have to spend the holiday halfway there in an airport hotel. We regained confidence, about 12 hours before our flight, we heard sporadic reports that the storm was slowing down. In the end we made it, ahead of the storm and, amazingly, only 30 minutes late.

My son was to pick us up at the airport, but we did not see him. There was an airport Santa Claus who we waved to, and he waved back. I said out loud, “I need to find my son”. Then we spotted our step-granddaughter convulsed in laughter and at this point Santa cracked up. Our airport Santa turned out to be Danny in the costume that Penelope had given him last year as a thank you for having wrapped all the presents we had ordered online without gift wrap option. The greeting from our surprise Santa set us up for a great stay.

Of course, in time the blizzard arrived but was not nearly as bad as was expected. Also, being in snow country Traverse City has continuous snow plowing.

We were staying at a hotel not that far from Danny’s home but he picked us up every day with our suitcases in case we could not make it back again! We had to explain to the front desk that we really were not checking out!

It was great seeing immediate and extended family members. We spent our time indoors near the fire doing a lot of talking and catching up. There was a large collection of games, and we played Scrabble, Gin and Nine Man Morris. After so many years I had to relearn the latter two! Here are all four siblings and not to leave anybody out, all the family gathered on Christmas Day.

There was continuous cooking and baking. I cannot remember when I have eaten so many cookies and such a variety. I liked the Buckeyes the best, chocolate

covered peanut butter. A lot more peanut butter and better than in a Reese’s bar. Yum! Here is Eryn eyeing the cookie tray of home-made goodies.

Our daughter-in-law, Jenifer made a pulled pork dinner that rivaled and surpassed any I have had in the Southwest (and I usually eat it once a week in Santa Fe), and my grandson Aidan made a Beef Wellington. That was a special treat.

Since Chanukah coincided with Christmas this year there was candle lighting every evening and my granddaughter, Lucy and I had the honors on the seventh night.

Christmas morning was quite a scene with lots of presents, stocking stuffers and a curious cat, Rue, wanting to know what all the fuss was about.

For Chistmas Dinner Tables were moved so we could all dine beside the enormous tree that I could not figure out how they got into the house. Before every one sat down Lucy folded napkins onto the plates in the form of Christmas trees.

Here’s Jenifer, setting out the buffet.

Jenifer’s parents, her brother and sister-in- law and their 2 year old joined us that evening.

Flying home was another adventure. We had a 3-leg journey flying from Traverse City to Chicago to Denver. All our flights were delayed what with de-icing, gates that planes could not get into, a crew delayed coming in from Mexico City and finally a stewardess missing as her flight in from Newark was late. (They already had 3 flight attendants, but FAA rules required 4). From her expression when she finally arrived running with her suitcase in tow, I had the impression that this woman had been told as she got off her last flight that she had another that had not been scheduled. Thank heavens were on United not Southwest. Ours was certainly a charmed trip as the delay of each successive flight made our connections possible!

All in all, it was a wonderful, and memorably white Christmas!

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