My father was an interesting man. Born just before the beginning of the Great Depression, and in the US military for over 20 years, he developed quite a wonderfully strange sense of humor – although he didn’t go in for the coarser jokes (at least not in front of his children). It was my father who introduced me to the genius comedy of Ray Stevens and Victor Borge and others along those lines. Anyone who made you think with their comedy without getting too blue about it ended up being a regular feature at our house or on the radio when we were on the road. I’m pretty sure I get a lot of my sense of humor from my father in that respect – I can still happily listen to things like Prairie Home Companion and remember fondly the times Daddy would get a new video from one of his favorites and introduce it to my sisters and me.
One of the things I’d love to do is visit Germany around Christmas. Then again, I am really not a fan of snow and cold – while the ideas of visiting the markets, seeing the towns in their holiday finery, and attending a Christmas Day service in German are very appealing, the weather I remember from March of one year makes me question my sanity.
One of my favorite memories from that trip is visiting Neuschwanstein Castle. The entire trip had been a bit chilly, but there was no snow on the ground, until we visited Mad King Ludwig’s castle. Yes, this is the one on which the Disney version of Cinderella’s palace is based. The hill to get up to the castle is insanely steep – you can take a horse-drawn carriage most of the way up, and then walk the remainder. Off to the sides of the road were snow drifts that didn’t seem so deep, until I decided to go play on one and sank into snow up to my knees. Sadly we couldn’t take pictures inside the castle, so I have no pictures of the Sangerhalle, but one of the coolest things I have ever done is to perform in that space. We didn’t have much of an audience – only a few tourists from another group, really – but we sang a few of the pieces from our repertoire, and really enjoyed the acoustics and the experience of singing in a space built for the purpose over a hundred years ago. It is by far not the oldest location in which we’ve performed, but something about it made the experience extremely special. I do hope to go back someday.
The days after Thanksgiving mark the start of Christmas music on the radio and marathons of Christmas movies. I admit, I have a lot of favorites among those. However, I do wish we’d all keep the Reason for the Season in mind. It’s easy to get stressed and preoccupied with everything else going on. We lose sight of what truly matters, and wrap ourselves up in personal concerns.
May God bless you and yours this holiday season – may your worries be few and your joys many.
If you were to build your ultimate film collection, what would be the titles that absolutely must be included? The top five to ten, say.
My list fluctuates a little, but here is a first pass:
1. The Princess Bride
2. Star Wars episode 4
3. Elephant Parts
4. The Fifth Element
6. Twelve Angry Men
I don’t go in for horror/suspense, and I prefer films that are accessible to all audiences. Even as I started composing this list, it kept changing in my head. Time to ponder more on edits to make to my list.
Some of you may have seen it – the meme for thirty days of thankfulness. Each day in November, you post via blog, Facebook, Twitter, or what-have-you the things for which you are thankful. I thought it was appropriate on Thanksgiving Day to stop and ruminate on what I’ve been posting daily.
Truly there are many things for which I am thankful. I am thankful for my family and friends, for the many blessings that I have been given, and for a God who loves me and guides me through this life. Thirty days are not sufficient to express my thankfulness for all that I have been given. Still, it is and has been a good exercise in daily remembrance.
Holiday traditions – most of us have at least one. One of my favorites is a dish called sunshine salad. Almost every year since I can remember, we’ve had this at Thanksgiving or Christmas or both. In recent years, I’ve been keeping this one alive, as it’s just plain yummy. It’s a simple jello salad involving finely shredded carrots and crushed pineapple — bright orange and yellow, cheerful and delicious.
Another food-related tradition I’d like to revive is the annual making of pfefferneusse. My grandmother had an amazing recipe, and I remember my father making sure we got it started in plenty of time before Christmas. Sadly, my grandmother’s handwritten cookbook has been lost, and that recipe with it. I am still hopeful that one day I will find a recipe that is pretty close to the cookies I remember.
Anyone else have a favorite tradition they’d like to share?
Finally, I can reveal the super secret project. These crocheted baby boots were done for a couple of friends of mine who are expecting — and once I found out they were decorating the nursery with an explorer theme I had to find something appropriate to make the baby.
One super power that would be awesome? Molly Weasley’s ability to enchant knitting needles to work for her.