It’s always been this way…ever since I can remember, way, way back in the Greenwood Center days did I ever get that excited about Christmas. Now there were some kids who gnawed the last of the turkey ( chicken in our house) at Thanksgiving and had pencil in hand with their first note to Santa. We never gave it much thought until one weekend day my mother would suggest it might be a good idea to get a tree in “for the kids.” My father was the Scrooge of all holidays…I know, I know he is not here to defend himself, but he would be the first to admit it. Grudgingly, he’d pull on his boots, knot them three times at the top, stick his feet in his snowshoes and then start searching for the axe. Since we lived in the forest, one would think he would have been happy to have such a selection of greenery from which to choose. We were lucky if he went fifty feet past the outhouse, chose the old maid of the forest and returned dragging it through the snow as to collect every flake on the limbs into one big white glob by the time he got it to the front steps. By the way, he was not singing carols in the five minutes it took him to complete this task. It is better you don’t know. We knew the tree would have two boards nailed to the bottom, then nailed to the kitchen floor and two hanks of rope( to be replaced on the clothesline come spring) to tie the tree on each side to a railroad spike he probably stole from the track when out hunting. So now you can understand my mind and body’s reluctance to accept any kind of Christmas spirit. We even took bets on how long it would take before one of the decorations caught on my father’s sleeve to start another uproar. It was part of the joyous Christmas season and one we anticipated each year and thought nothing of it.
Meanwhile, my sainted Gram Martin stood for hours in her plaid house dress covered with an immaculately clean apron, cotton stockings and blue sneakers carefully cutting out cookies, putting exactly the same amount of raisin filling in each one, covering it with another, making little tine marks around each one in such a manner, one would think a machine had done if for her. She had knit our hats and mittens months before and she was set for the holidays. There were no big fireworks and no big to-do at the farm house, but it was a peaceful feeling with the cow in the barn( lowing as in all Sunday school stories) and probably talking to the pig at midnight. I have no idea.
So now let’s fast forward six decades…one would think over a span of sixty years ( and more) that the Christmas spirit might make a move sometime before the 24th of the month. Never happened. Until yesterday. Sam (Tuxedo Cat) and I were having a spirited conversation about probably one of these nights he might try catching a mouse who now weighs fifty lbs from eating peanut butter off a trap. About that time the mail man came and there were cards. I sat at my desk, enjoying the notes and the sceneries on each and Sam looked up and said, “Forget the mouse. Let’s bake cookies.” I swear it was either Sam or the Devil. “No, too late in the day. My back is killing me and I can’t handle it all today.” ( cop out right there). “There are some you can put together and leave in the fridge over night and finish tomorrow.” The cat wouldn’t let up….
Forty minutes later, there was a lump of off- white dough in a green mixing bowl on the third shelf of the fridge. It was in the ecru range of color but looked about right for something that should taste like a sugar cookie. Fridge door shut; dough forgotten; bed time.
Do not, I repeat, do not look in the fridge for anything before you have your favorite beverage in the morning. The first thing I saw was that olive green bowl and the ecru colored dough. What was I thinking? Who on this planet wants to dig out a rolling pin and cut out little shapes ? Obviously I had experienced a lapse of judgment and given in to the cat/devil the day before.
Let’s get this over with now and I can get on with the rest of the winter. Out comes the pastry board..oh, look, it is also a cutting board since my son was here prepping for the Food network. There’s the rolling pin…waiting for the cobwebs to be removed and scrubbed down. Flour…have to have flour. Dough sticks without flour. Oh, the recipe says it should not stay in fridge over two hours…well I over looked that little item in my spurt of spirit yesterday and now I not only have dough, I have a bowling ball that could wipe out ten pins with no problem. Sip the tea…tap the dough..sip the tea..tap the dough. Can’t let it get too soft. OH, what shape shall they be? We have every reindeer and the jolly man himself, name it Christmas and I have it in a cookie cutter. Do I want to really go through all this? Flour on the board…slap some dough, roll it out, sip the tea, …whoa, wait one minute…there is an interesting little cookie cutter right there…
My mind works in mysterious ways…one cookie cutter…one to wash…not a multitude of little crevices etc…hmmmm….and that is how I ended up with six dozen musical notes..each about two inches long. ….and about six cookie sheets more to wash than I should have.
No apron, floppy slippers, snarl on the lips, boy, Gram would be proud of me. Now that I have have my spurt of Christmas spirit, I can sit back, relax and figure out how to catch that fifty lb. mouse .