DISCOVERIES OF AN OLDER (ELDERLY?) CHRISTMAS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Discovery

Owen does Thanksgiving and we go out (or not, but we always talk about going out) on birthdays … but it seems that come the night of Christmas Eve, it happens here. Like it or not, this is home for the holidays.

I spent far too much money on a “special” roast from the butcher — flank steak wrapped around cheese and veggies (it needed salt but was otherwise pretty good). Vegetable. Baked potatoes and I forgot to put out the sour cream. Which was my best because it was the ONLY thing I forgot to put out.

A five-pound roast (I asked for a four-pound roast) is too much food for us these days. Garry and I don’t eat that much. Actually, no one eats that much. I think I’ll roast a big chicken next year and stuff it with something. Maybe add cranberries. But the baked potatoes and veggies are a keeper.

Why don’t they sell mince pies anymore? For that matter, where are peach pies? There was apple — three kinds of apple — and cheesecake, various kinds of cream, key lime, and lemon meringue … but no rhubarb or even rhubarb with strawberry. Something called “mixed berry” and cherry, which is too sweet for everyone. One fork and that’s it for me.

We managed to eat 1/2 a cheesecake, never opened the key lime. The apple pie is still frozen against future holidays.

Maybe just as well since we were all barely moving from the preceding dinner, leaving us with at least two pounds of leftover beef. All the potatoes disappeared, though. Too many baked little bread thingies. We even have remaindered apple cider.

I told everyone to eat more, please, but they couldn’t, didn’t, and I’ve got a defrosted lamb roast waiting and NO appetite. I could live on sandwiches and one frozen pizza would be more than enough.

We discovered — among many discoveries — that no matter where the holidays may roam, Christmas stays here. Because we are here. For how long, no one knows, but as long as we are breathing, this is where Christmas happens.

Owen and the old recordings on a 78 rpm record player

And it turns out the little gifts are every bit as exciting as big expensive ones, advertising and television notwithstanding. Short of someone actually giving us a lot of money, I was really happy with a new nightie an a pair of warm little slippers (and they were the right size and go with everything. Garry got new stretchy pants and Owen got the same chopper that I ordered after Judy Dykstra-Brown suggested it (I really love it) and I just had to warn him not to whack to excessively hard. He’s very strong and it’s pretty sturdy, but he’s a big guy and plastic just IS.

I gave Kaity and Sandy Volumes 1 and 2 of Animusic. It turns out you can’t explain Animusic. You have to see and hear it. If you want to read more about it, they are an interesting organization and not like anyone else. They create the animation and the animation makes the music.

And I got a new pair of pants and two shirts, blue and gray, which I wanted because I bought them myself so at least they would fit. Garry thinks I’m a LOT thinner than I am, the darling.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

28 thoughts on “DISCOVERIES OF AN OLDER (ELDERLY?) CHRISTMAS – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. It was a very enjoyable Christmas Eve.
    A drama free (dee-lish) dinner.
    Everyone enjoyed their gifts including the furry kids who hadn’t destroyed their toys as of Christmas morning.
    I had a long and delightful phone chat with my family. 2 younger Brothers, cousins and cousin-in law. I was able to hear everyone clearly (first time) with my cochlear implant. I think I was a bit giddy because I rambled all over the place, chatting about how the cochlear implant has changed my life. We shared memories about Christmases past. Lots of laughter as I said goodbye.

    Owen brought over a bunch of old ’78’s (Those of a certain age know what I’m talking about). We listened to vintage performances of Christmas music performed by Bing Crosby, Mahalia Jackson, Gene Autry and Red Foley. Yes, Red Foley. “White Christmas” is still a signature song of the season and it belongs to Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby. One of the 78’s contained soundtrack music from the 1942 film, “Holiday Inn” in which Bing Crosby introduced Irving Berlin’s beloved “White Christmas”. Gene Autry’s “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” brought back a rush of childhood memories as did a rendition of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. I found myself singing along — softly — because I sing off key. What a blast! Thanks, Owen.

    I, too, wonder about the mince pie mystery. What happened to mince pie? I just read an on-line piece about a cache of mince pies discovered in England, stashed in a basement — from World War Two. A Mom’s glift to her Son in the army. The pies are over 70 years old. No mention of how they taste. Still doesn’t answer our mince pie mystery. Russian collusion?

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  2. I have to make a mince pie if I want one. I haven’t seen a frozen or pre-baked one in a long time. My store still sells filling. 🙂 I got a thing to carry paintbrushes and various items that haven’t arrived yet, but I really don’t care. I realized my funk this Christmas was related to the loss of my two remaining Aunts whom I loved and, I guess, symbolically for me, that marked the end of an era that might have been gone for a while anyway. Next year might be better. I wish you and Garry a happy Christmas Day!

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    1. I thought I’d at LEAST be able to buy the filling, but nope, that’s gone too. They used to have it. I don’t understand. And it’s not like we can go to the local bakery because the groceries have the only bakeries in town. They wanted (gasp) $24 to order it from Amazon and that was simply too much. I miss fruitcake, too. I used to make it myself, but it is an insanely expensive cake to bake. All that fruit! But it was really good when I baked it!

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    2. Mince pie, oh Martha I think I love you. My dad loved mince pie and it rubbed off on the rest of us. So it’s become a permanent tradition on my family. Grandma used to make the mince from scratch and later we found Cross and Blackwell mince very close to the home made stuff. Unfortunately C & B was bought out by Bordens and the product has been dumbed down to something that looks like “baby poop” and tastes awful. They still try and get top dollar even though it’s not the same.

      Mincemeat is definitely an acquired taste, as most folks have never tasted really authentic mince, originally a way to preserve meat in jolly old England, (hence the name “mincemeat”) where refrigeration was non existent. I have about 1/2 doz coveted jars of the original C & B in my cupboard for when the family visits. After that it’s gone forever. My sister has been experimenting with making her own and if she succeeds Hallehluja! we may be saved?

      There are a couple of odd brands imported from the UK but hard to find.

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        1. A homemade fruitcake is quite a different kind of cake. There’s a light version and a darker version. I made both, but the light version was more popular. I was astonished at the price of the dried fruit! But the cake was phenomenal and we didn’t have to soak it in rum or brandy, either 🎁

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  3. As the years go bye Christmas stays (although I do not actually do Christmas) but the food, the music and all the trimmings. We had beef, filet steak. I bought it in one piece and cut the steaks myself. It was so easy, and good, with a veg and rösti frites to go with it. No big cooking, but good. My type of dinner. It was easy going and I felt good afterwards, no panic and no tons of visitors. Oh yes, life can get better.

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    1. This was a relatively easy dinner. I roast, baked potatoes, vegetable. But it was still a lot of dashing around the kitchen keeping track of what needs turning, what was done, still needed doing, etc. Usually, I make very simple meals, so I had to channel my kitchen spirit to get me moving.

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  4. Our local Wegmans sells pretty much any kind of pie you want in their in-store bakery. Yes, they had mincemeat, but only hubby likes it and he didn’t want to eat a whole pie by himself. We opted not to have any pie – my daughter made a wonderful caramel trifle instead, with homemade whipped cream. She’s so much more ambitious than I am.

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  5. Christmas was quiet here, but that soon will not be the case as my sisters are on their way, driving, across country and will arrive in a couple of days.

    BTW, I love Animusic and have a couple of DVDs of it. These seem to be new.., I haven’t seen them before. Have a great read of your holiday.

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  6. It sounds like you all had a pleasant time. We had a nice Christmas Day too, Naomi drove down and I cooked a roast shoulder of lamb. I still have a lot left over but Boxing Day is usually a day that is spent watching cricket and eating leftovers. I’ll probably freeze some too. I love fruitcake and luckily it keeps well, I put sherry in mine, so there is no rush to eat it. I was given enough chocolate to last till Easter so some of that will be going on the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard so I won’t be tempted. Naomi and I had each bought each other one more expensive gift, doll stuff for me, action figures for her but we were just as happy with the smaller gifts. The pets were not forgotten either and all have new toys and treats.
    In the afternoon we started playing a Star Trek boardgame Naomi had bought recently. It turned out to be very involved and before we knew it it was seven thirty in the evening. The day always seems to go by so quickly.

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    1. We just watched a lot of Christmas movies. Some of the really old ones didn’t wear nearly as well as I wish they had. Times have changed and that ugly stuff isn’t “stuff that used to happen.” More like stuff that IS happening.

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