Hello friends! Last weekend was an eventful one here in the Republic, and one which brought our first substantial snowfall of the year. I started this post a few days ago, so I may as well finish it now:
On Friday evening I attended (with various representatives of Lindsey's family) Lindsey's youngest brother's school Christmas pageant. Lindsey insisted on arriving some forty minutes early, in order to be sure of getting seats and parking. Things were already hectic when we arrived, but Lindsey knew the bouncer from college, and so he got us in without having to wait in line or pay the exorbitant cover charge. No, wait. That didn't happen. As you may expect, the parking lot and gymnasium were as yet mostly empty. Mr. Mish had already staked out the best filming location with his tripod and new video camera, and saved us some seats right near the nuns in the fourth row. I suppressed as best I could the rumblings of my stomache, greedily eying the saran wrap-covered refreshments, to be served after the programme. In my haste to be forty minutes early I had neglected to nourish myself, and was now haunted by the pangs of a most awful regret for having done so. About half an hour later the rest of the parental press corps arrived, and things got rolling only a few minutes behind schedule, which is quite impressive considering that the cast is entirely made up of elementary schoolers in cute costumes. "That one in the star costume is my granddaughter," the nice lady next to me said. "How cute," I said. "The one in the crown is my... um... future brother in law? Yeah." About halfway through saying so, it occurred to me that that might sound odd. The pageant was incredibly cute and funny, and I don't think I have ever in my life seen so many cameras. Dawheeze (yes, that is her real name) has a much better account of the whole thing here. I shall only mention that first through third graders performing Handel's "Unto Us A Child Is Born," dressed as various characters of the Nativity, is very funny.
Saturday late afternoon I went out to get a tree with my sister Reenie and my brother Brendan, and Brendan's son Geno. The tree farm had of course already been well visited by this time, and the pickings were slim (particularly for the particular pickers among us), but in the end I think we managed to get two nice trees, though I haven't seen Brendan's in decorated form. Saturday evening Linds and I went to a Christmas party hosted by some friends, which they have every year and which is always a lot of fun. I was amused that even at a non-family party, five of the other attendees, not including my fiancee, are in my immediate family. Big families are fun. The snow was coming down hard as I drove home from the party, but for some reason I didn't think to park my car any differently when I got home, which turned out later to be a mistake.
Sunday morning I awoke to Maureen knocking on my door suggesting that I leave for mass with her, since there was no reason for us both to hazard the weather in separate cars. I hurriedly prepared myself and rushed out the door to join my sister, already in the car. The street had been ploughed at some point during the night, but it had since snowed a few more inches. For those of you who inhabit warmer climes than ours, to plough the road means to use a large vehicle with something like a shovel on the front of it to take all of the snow off of the surface of the road, and put it on my car. Good thing I was carpooling. Given the state of the roads, we were probably going to be late, if we got there at all. Unfortunately, we didn't even get out of our own driveway in under ten minutes, and without the help of two neighbors. At that point it was decided that we were not going to make it to mass at all, so instead we went to the hardware store to get another snow shovel, and then returned to shovel out the driveway, and possibly to find my car. Kara, our other housemate, was there when we got back (she had managed to escape the driveway earlier), and explained to us that all masses had been canceled on account of weather in any case, so it was just as well that we didn't make it. We spent the rest of the afternoon shoveling the snow (we managed to recover my car), and then decorating the Christmas tree, which turned out to be more of an endeavour than I had expected it to be, cheifly because Reens insisted upon having every twig of every branch thoroughly wrapped with lights. In her defense, it looks much better than it would had I been left to my own devices.
While decorating the tree we put on a few Christmas CDs, one of which was Bing Crosby's Complete Christmas Recordings. It really was complete, containing a few different versions of "White Christmas," and no fewer than four versions of "Silent Night." What struck me about the CD, aside from the mostly great music (I still don't care for "Sleigh Ride" or "Here Comes Santa Clause"), was that there was probably a half-dozen or so Christmas songs on there that I'd never heard before. These weren't bootlegs or obscure carols in Polish or anything like that, these were-high quality recordings of accessible, radio-friendly pop tunes about sleigh rides and Saint Nick and makin' out under the mistletoe by none other than Buh-ba-buh-ba Bing Freaking Crosby. Given that modern radio's current Hallyday repertoire consists of 2,897,992 versions of roughly twelve songs (including Crosby's hit version of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"), you'd think folks would be all a-buh-buh-buh-bout it, if you know what I mean. Weird.
In the early evening I set out in my newly-excavated automobile towards my parents' place, intending to relax and visit with my younger siblings over a cup of hot chocolate. The roads were still pretty bad, but I sort of like them that way. What I don't like, as I believe I've mentioned before, is other drivers when the roads are sort of bad. With this in mind, I opted to take the road less traveled by to my folks' place, which, interestingly enough, turned out to make at least something of a difference. I was rolling down Bemis Road at what I thought would be about the right speed to maintain control of the car and still push through the snow and up the hills, when I noticed up ahead of me what I think was a light green Ford Edge, barreling down the middle of the road. "It's ok," I thought. "There's plenty of road for both of us if we just slow down a little and stick to the sides of the roadway," which is what I did and he did not. He kept right on cruising down the middle of the road as if I did not exist at all, leaving me a mere 1/3 of the road and taking 2/3 for himself. "Lord, please help this guy not to hit me," I managed to mutter. My prayers can often be rather selfish. His portion of the road turned out to be more than he needed and mine turned out to be less than I needed, and in the end I had to veer off into the ditch to avoid collision, at which point he went about his merry way, and I got out my phone to call for help. I had to laugh a little, my prayer had been answered. Fortunately, before the requested help could arrive, unrequested help in the form of a very nice guy named Randy stopped and offered to tow me out of the ditch with his tow strap and 4x4 truck. How could I refuse? I dug enough of the snow out from underneath my car to find someplace to attach the hook, and a few moments later I was back on the road. After thanking Randy for his help and wishing him a merry Christmas, I made it the rest of the way to my folks' place with no trouble.
That's all for now, friend. If I write any longer, Laura will wonder why I keep joshing her about long posts. Only five days until Christmas!