I couldn't stand the thought of the old year passing without a bit of reflection.
After the horrors of 2006, that year closed on a hopeful note, and this year began with confirmation of that hope: Our son's move back to his home state. We've seen him off and on throughout the year, but of course a good bit more of him since he's about 700 miles closer to home. His visits fell off during the summer, when he was working six days a week, but he was in for a week just before Christmas; he spent Christmas with us; and surprise, surprise, there's a possibility that he may spend tonight and tomorrow with us, as well. He called to say he was going to a party, but wasn't expecting it to last "more than a few hours" (presumably, it breaks up at midnight, then he still has an hour's drive to our place). I hope he makes it to our house, though, because tomorrow, we're supposed to get a foot of snow (a little under a meter, for European or Canadian readers).
The snow began, I believe, around December 10, and so far, we've had -- now, is it three or four storms of significant size? I don't remember a winter like this since I was a girl, sixteen years old and slogging three miles on foot to school because, well, it was a school day and in our house, you didn't stay home from school unless there was a death in the family (your own). Anyway, none of the buses were running, so I walked to school, and yes there were drifts of snow to overcome, got there around 9:45 (having left the house at 7:00), rang the doorbell with trepidation -- to discover from an astonished nun that school had been cancelled for the day, and I had to walk all the way back home. I think I made it around 1:00 or so. My mother demanded to know what I was doing home, and all I said was, "School was cancelled," and that was that.
Then there were the snows of 1967 and 1968. People who fume at Callous Business are probably unaware that even the evil minions of Wall Street and Madison Avenue actually sent employees home if a storm was threatening. One year we were dismissed at 1:00 p.m., and I made it home on the elevated train from lower Manhattan to my home in Queens; but again, no buses were running, and I had to walk the mile from the train station to my house. It was windy that day, and the very hardest part of that walk was the last two blocks, long blocks that probably came to a third of a mile and were all uphill. I remember standing next to a parked car and thinking, "I'm not going to make this," then pulling myself together and battling that fierce wind down the last block to home, then collapsing in tears on the back steps.
At least this snow hasn't been accompanied by such horrendous wind, nor have I been required to be out in it, other than to help shovel the driveway. But we've had an awful lot of snow, and dh and I aren't as young as we were 21 years ago, when we bought the place. Today, dh was even talking about moving to a retirement community, something both of us have resisted with all our might. It's like God's waiting room, for crying out loud.
So we've been quite busy, what with snow removal and enjoying our son and our washing machine breaking down and being unrepairable because That Part Is No Longer Manufactured, and having to spend money earmarked for Christmas presents on a new washer, instead. Thankfully, we had all of ds's presents bought already, so we just did without presents ourselves. At our age, who needs a lot, anyway. But a new washing machine is crucial. ;-)
On both Christmas Eve and this past Sunday, I got to direct our choir again. The choir director was visiting family in Florida, as we'd known, and had made arrangements with a teenaged boy to direct in her absence, as we'd known; as we hadn't known, the teenaged boy got cold feet and never showed up at all for Christmas Eve, and yesterday, I was in full swing when he did show up, saw me at the podium, and shook his head vehemently when I stood aside to let him take my place. I must admit that I enjoyed doing it again, but it would have been nice to have a little more advance notice.
And there is the ongoing and phenomenal blessing of our new priest. The newness is beginning to wear off, both for him and for the parish, but he is still unflaggingly enthusiastic, and I have yet to hear a negative word about him -- in our parish, that's something of a record for any priest. It seems he and his family are ski fanatics, having gone skiing in Vermont over the long Thanksgiving weekend and in New Hampshire for a week after Christmas; and in speaking with him today, I learned that he's planning to make another ski trip to the same New Hampshire mountain "just for one day, on Wednesday" (his usual day off). He and his family continue to live in Massachusetts, where they'd bought a house just last year; I should mention to him that if he bought a house up here, he'd pay less money all around, because not only is it cheaper to live up here than in Massachusetts, but he'd also get to save on resort fees, since he wouldn't have to stay overnight. On the other hand, maybe that's the charm.
Oh, yes, he's spiritually a great blessing, too. ;-) People were telling me yesterday about his not being too happy with the Christmas Pageant this year, because Baby Jesus was represented by a little girl baby: "Jesus was a boy Baby!" he kept insisting, but finally gave in reluctantly. They thought that was very funny. I think it just shows that he is being true to his priestly responsibility to keep to the true Tradition. (But yeah, I find the story amusing, too, and very sweet in his earnestness.)
Now, if only his Romanian accent didn't keep reminding me of Count Dracula...