photography BY BOB MIELKE

Garry was very gentle. He barely touched my shoulder. I was sleeping lightly … because I knew we had to get up early this morning.

Already dressed in black, Bonnie is ready to go.

A dawn encounter with a clogged toilet had seen to the light sleep, but also, we have a funeral to attend. A neighbor to see off into the next stop in the cycle … and we needed coffee first.

And had to give the dogs a little love before we go racing out of the house.

For once, it’s not a long journey. Just down the street. Don’t need a GPS or map. Show up looking reasonably put together. Merely a left out of the driveway, and keep going until we cross the rickety bridge into Rhode Island. Then look for the stone church on the right side with the white steeple.

Photo: Bob Mielke - Kaity dressed as ... ? Happy Bird Day!

My real morning encounter is Garry. Gently letting me know it’s time to get myself out of the warm huddle of blankets and dreams and hit the floor.

Garry and Bonnie "have a moment" while the turkey cooks

72-Kitchen-DoggiesGarry does this well. He is a very soft waker-upper. No loud noises, no rousing choruses of anything. So I do not leap from the bed and try to tear his throat out. Because I love him, though early in the morning, I generally do not love anyone until after coffee.

72-Bishop Trimmed

Not him, not the dogs, not those endless telephone solicitors who seem to believe against all evidence to the contrary that they can actually sell me something before I’ve had my coffee.

Chef Owen, master of turkey

Chef Owen, master of turkey

Hello world. It’s black Friday, the day of the ultimate sales …and I’m done with my Christmas shopping. Except for the wrapping and some tree decorations. We’ve navigated Thanksgiving and the flow of life is rushing us to Christmas.

If we both keep body surfing the wave, I think we’ll make it. Time is rushing towards us and we merely have to stand still while it engulfs us.


  1. Christmas shopping for me has become a lot less since we moved to Tasmania. The nieces and nephews are older now and it’s harder to know what they would want. Certainly there is not much they need that we would have been able to afford to give. I send small gifts to a few friends and got into the habit of making charitiable gifts on behalf of family members. A donation towards school books for a teacher, donations towards wild animal funds for animal lovers, vaccinations for dogs for a dog lover. Everyone seems happy with this idea and it’s a gift that give twice, well three times really, the recipient, the relative and for me the pleasure of being able to support a good cause as donating is something that doesn’t happen as often now either. My only “real” gifts were for David and my sister. Sister’s present is all but sorted. I’m collecting small goodies to take on our holiday next year and presenting them in a gift box. I’ll only need to shop for doggie presents and cat presents too, cats are much harder to buy for than dogs :). I still send a few real Christmas cards. I’ve bought them so really should start writing them.


    • For us, retirement as mandated a drastic lowering of spending on every level. Fixed incomes are cruel masters. And, as it turns out, we have what we need. Anything we still need, we can’t afford. What we CAN afford, no one really needs. So we limit spending to small gifts for immediate family, one nice one for the granddaughter … and Garry and I wait until the clearance sales after Christmas and then, we go shopping … assuming we need anything. If we really needed it, we probably didn’t wait for Christmas anyhow.


      • Small gifts can be just as enjoyable to receive. We never spent a fortune on gifts. It is nice to have something to unwrap on Christmas morning even if it is only tennis balls for Cindy 🙂


        • It has turned out that for the most part, the small things are as much fun as the big ones used to be. It’s different when you have enough money to give them something life-changing, but it has been years since that was true. So now, I try to find something small, but fun. That’s as good as we can do and it has to be good enough.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. We will have huge discounts after Christmas known as clearance sale. Christmas is just around the corner and I’m waiting desperately for the exercise to finish so that I can see my dear hubby every morning. It was long and killing practice camp this time. Enjoyed the photos and can feel the freshness and joy of festive season.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. we gave up on the entire process of gifts years ago when both mothers were still living, and each of them agreed that they had all the flannel nighties and wooly socks they would ever need and as my mother said at the time, if I want something, I go buy it. It also gave her a chance to accept graciously at this end and then tell all her friends that “my daughter doesnt’ want to exchange presents anymore.,” sigh. shrug. So she got points on both sides.
    And I stopped sending cards long long ago when I realized most people were sending only when they got. Which really isnt the point, is it.

    If I had a reason now to start up I’d find a reason to not do it. Impending poverty, allergies, anything…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I give my granddaughter something she needs … usually new boots … that no one else will get for her. My husband and I tell each other EXACTLY what we want, or we go after Christmas when there are clearance sales and buy something for ourselves that we want. Otherwise, gifts top out at about $20 per family member. Social Security doesn’t leave us a lot of latitude for big spending and life is already more expensive that we can legitimately afford. Garry finally gave up cards for all but his family. I send eCards to a few people. It’s nice not to dread Christmas because I know it’ll take me the whole year to recover … IF I recover!


    • I still send “real” cards but only to remaining family and close friends. My Mom used to spend a long day’s journey into night sending cards. She had wonderful penmanship that never faltered. Marilyn and I have simplified the gift thing – telling each other what we’d like. If affordable, it’s a go. I guess I’m too old for a Red Ryder Carbine although Marilyn did get me a little drone last year to ease my paranoia over a cabal of drones I believed to be following me everywhere.


  4. That was a nice soothing read, although sorry about the funeral. We also have far too many at the moment, far too many. People I worked with, neighbours, colleagues, they were not young or old, just around Mr. Swiss and my age. Otherwise keep your Black Friday, we have been infiltrated with this new thing. I don’t even do Christmas shopping, Mr. Swiss and I sort of abolished it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our Christmas shopping is very minimal and I’m already finished. I bought everything online this year and I keep most gifts to about $20, except the granddaughter gets something she really needs. Otherwise, Garry and I really buy ourselves what we really want, so we don’t need to get all crazy for birthdays or Christmas. It really takes a lot of the sting out of the holidays!

      Liked by 1 person

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