Sunday, December 30, 2012
I seemed determinedly anxious as we approached Christmas this year. I was anticipating seeing the kids in an almost obsessive way and I think it was due to the Newtown tragedy. The niece and nephew weren't within eyesight after that tragic (as they live a couple of hundred miles away) and once we did arrive in Jeff City on these holidays, I was bordering on clingy with those poor young'uns. I know their folks, K's sister and brother-in-law, take excellent care of them but part of me almost wished I could watch over them all the time. Alas, it doesn't work that way, though, does it?
I eventually relaxed my grip on them (and regained a tenuous grip on my sanity) and settled into the welcome, familiar groove of the family holidays. We gathered 'round the table (after gathering "round to admire the cherry 'Vette in the garage K's dad is working on) for the traditional Christmas Eve repast of oyster soup, clam chowder, country ham and some wonderful homemade rye and wheat bread that Dave had made. Dessert was a rich, decadent chocolate cake from a Barefoot Contessa recipe (found here) that we enjoyed while the kids tore through their Christmas stockings. This year's Christmas Eve was decidedly more melancholy as the first without Grandpa Winge, but that's not to say we couldn't find humor when we needed it. K's sis Kim got a charge from the Fifty Shades of Chicken cookbook (a parody based on the naughty bestseller) we got her as a gag gift. Mustard-spanked chicken, anyone?
The next morning, we joined up at Kim and Dave's for Christmas morning madness that centered around the usual flurry of paper and camera flashes with a couple of added solo piano pieces performed by the kids on the family's recently acquired baby grand. Among the kid's gifts were a fortune cookie maker for Sierra who had a ball creating different varieties...with icing and sprinkles to boot. The real meal would later involve Dave's delicious pork roast with bleu cheese, cranberries and pears, with homemade stuffing, broccoli-rice casserole and our fresh roasted green beans with fresh Parmesan. The piece de resistance of this meal would be Dave's dessert of a homemade French apple pie warm with vanilla ice cream and vanilla brandy sauce. So, so good.
Later that evening would be the annual Winge Christmas party that this year took place at Aunt Diane's stunning home. I've visited this beautiful abode once before and continue to remain gobsmacked at the endlessly intricate detail in every corner. When I wasn't strolling around once again taking it all in, we were munching on baked potato soup and our friend Deb's homemade pecan pie. We ended the evening with a "white elephant" gift exchange. Among the gifts drawing big guffaws in the room were a plastic dancing flower pot, a bag of charcoal and an empty Budweiser case containing one empty Bud can. What an ice breaker!
The ho-ho holidays were a hit again. Now if only I had time to rest up from them.