The year is coming to a rapid close and I want to publish one more post. Christmas is a memory now and we are all looking forward to a new year. Instead of going back into the past i’ll stay in the present and write about the most recent memories. This year’s Christmas.
For the first time, we only had the two youngest of our five sons over for the holidays. While I like to have them all plus partners and kids at home during that wonderful family time, I am always a bit stressed about their travel in the winter. So I don’t mind either way.
Robert, our oldest, just completed his work assignment as a project manager for a big German company in the States. He is in limbo now and may have to move back to Germany or another country where he is needed. He could not take the time off to travel here.
Richard, our second son, and the father of our three grand children lives in Montreal at the other side of the country, He went with his partner Youki and the kids (Mateo, Auzure and Emeline) to her father’s house in the country side in Quebec.
Tony, our third son, and Lisa had her brother’s and sister’s families over in their new home. “We’ll definitely come next year”, they reassured us because they found it more relaxing to be guests than hosts. They are such super hosts though As guests they are entertaining and very helpful
To our surprise and great joy, Tony and Lisa got engaged Christmas Eve. Such wonderful news. They are now relaxing at the beaches on Hawaii.
Our holiday celebrations started with the now traditional Advent party at our friend’s, Klaus and Erika’s beautiful log home in the forest by the lake. For about the last ten years they have invited all their German friends from our village to celebrate the Advent season with caroling and feasting at their welcoming home.
Erika and Klaus complement each other in the kitchen. She is a master baker and her desserts are to die for.. Klaus on the other hand is a passionate chef and loves to cook. The result is that guests to their house are in for unforgettable treats,
This year, Erika had an operation on her foot and had to postpone the celebration to the fourth of Advent. She vehemently rejected all help and promised to cut down on the number of different cakes and pastries. But to our secret delight she did not keep that promise. On the contrary, she seemed to have added some more delicious creations.
Their house is always so festively decorated in a traditional way. It radiates warmth, comfort and good taste. Most years we are more or less fourteen people around the beautifully decorated table with all the delicious baking. Everyone feels relaxed and high spirited. After the feasting, we sing traditional German and English Christmas carols, read or recite poems or short passages from seasonal writing. Mulled wine simmering on the stove keeps us “hydrated”. And we reminisce about past Christmases, especially from our childhood. Our thoughts went back to the homeland of our birth.
Shortly before our return home from this delightful celebration, Stefan, our youngest son, had arrived safely from the coast. That added more joy and excitement.
Stefan has a great sense of family and friends. He is the bonding glue for his brothers. Stefan is always full of life and there is never a dull moment when he is home. He loves to cook, bake, play games, hike, take amazing photos, play hockey, travel all over the world, brew beer,and of course work on his computer. He connected my cabin in the backyard to the net and now I can write there in peace and quiet.
For Christmas eve he took over the meal preparation and cooked rouladen, braised red cabbage with the most delicious gravy ever. And he slaved away trying to make Thüringer Klösse from scratch. These dumplings made from raw grated potatoes are a challenge for the most seasoned cooks or experienced housewives in Germany. His dumplings were great for a first attempt. For dessert he had prepared a tiramisu. He tasted this special dessert for the first time as a little boy in Germany at friends of the family, who treated us royally. Stefan was so impressed by their overwhelming hospitality and all the delicacies they offered him during that memorable visit. In our household with five growing boys meals were not quite so fancy and elegant except on rare occasions. I also noticed that he loves to keep up old traditions. So great!!!
Stefan cut the roundest and biggest Christas tree ever. It filled almost all our fairly small front room. Our house looked and smelled like a forest. Christmas eve was a lot quieter than we are used to from the past. But we had a relaxing time. Rob joined us via skype. The wonders of technology! We sang carols and then played games.
Our old (forever young} neighbor Richard joined us Christmas day for church and for feasting and playing cards. Richard, nearing ninety still splits his own wood and is very strong and active. He is also loud and boisterous. Beer is his power drink and keeps him in good health and spirits. Our son Stefan brews his own beer with friends in Vancouver. Our Bavarian friend seems to have inspired his love for good beer. Or maybe it’s in the genes. Also my name Gertrud is the patron saint of beer brewers. Playing cards is one of Richard’s passions and he takes games very seriously. Sometimes the noise level rises precariously. But we have fun.
Mike and Angie plus their dogs Kelsey and Piper arrived on Boxing day. I cooked the turkey and we had another day of feasting and playing games. For Angie’s sake we played Ticket to Ride, a very clever and exciting board game. She doesn’t care for our card games. Outside the snow was softly falling It looked magical with the colorful Christmas lights Peter had decorated the house and yard with.
The next morning, we all drove out over snowy roads to Taite Creek, our favorite forestry campsite. Mike had promised Peter a load of wood in his truck. This year we are short of firewood because of Peter’s accident in the summer when he broke his foot.
Taite Creek is forever magical at any time. The fresh snow had turned it into an enchanting Winter Wonderland. Peaceful. We had a big bonfire and enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Spending time at Taite Creek always renews and refreshes my body and soul. When the boys were growing up, Taite Creek helped me cope and survive the unavoidable stresses of raising five lively sons. The “boys” all have a special attachment and lots of wonderful memories of happy and relaxing times there.
Mike and Dad had a great bonding time getting the wood. Mike is such a kind and friendly character and very successful in all his endeavors. He is always cheerful, optimistic and enterprising. People are drawn to him and he has lots of friends.
At home Angie colored and trimmed my hair. So relaxing! Since I never had a daughter it is so wonderful to have daughters-in-law to do “girl” things with. Mike and Angie are a good match.
For the New Year I hope and pray for Health and Happiness. May we have lots of joyful family times together.
The same good wishes go out to all of you living in this Miraculous World. May God bless us all and keep us safe and grant us PEACE.