Late Friday morning we hit the road from our home in north Texas up to south Arkansas. The morning started out quite chilly, but the weather consistently warmed as we drove. This turned out to be a very warm Christmas, with temperatures in the 70s. A white narcissus was in bloom in my father's side yard.
The drive from Allen to Texarkana (on the Texas/Arkansas border) goes from mostly farm-field to mostly trees. All along the telephone and electrical wires along the way, we saw hawks, mostly quite plump, perched in hunting postures. We also passed burros, cows, horses, and farm implements of all sorts.
We stopped in Texarkana to pick up my step-sister, to take her to my father's home. She is about a year older than I am. This past year for her has been one of challenge and also of triumph. A bit over a year ago, she had a major stroke. For some time, she was unable to function well at all. She has improved dramatically in that time. She iremains disabled, but now can live on her own, and get about and communicate quite well. A year ago, too, my father had just gotten out of hospital after not only surgery for a post-surgical scare. So many things can change in a year--and sometimes for the better.
We drove through deep pine woodland to my father's home in Camden in south Arkansas. As is our family tradition, we dined on steaks and gingerbread, and then opened the presents on Christmas Eve. We all had a very good time.
On Christmas Day, my father's wife's son and my sister's step-son (who is studying multi-media at a local community college) joined us for a Christmas dinner worthy of the name. My father's wife had cooked the turkey in what I call "German pot roast style", with peeled potatoes and carrots. The result was one of the most moist turkeys I have ever eaten. We also had sweet potatoes with marshmallows,
banana nut bread, ham, steamed broccoli, cornbread dressing, ambrosia (i.e., peeled orange bits with chopped coconut bits on it),
and a variety of other very good things.
After lunch and visiting, my wife and I drove my step-sister back to Texarkana, and then rejoined my father and his wife for a quiet evening at home. We enjoyed in particular the Christmas lights at all the rural houses between Hope and Camden.
We struck out today for home, after I spent a few hours bright and early this morning on a work project. We dined on sushi tonight, and are settled in for a delightful weekend. I belatedly opened a gift from my brother, my sister-in-law and their son, to find that it included a Smithsonian bird guide and some mini-binoculars. Meanwhile, my sister gave me a fine winter's shirt ideal for such an expedition.
I love quiet Christmas times, with family and visiting. We had one of those this year.