15 December 2003

Holly Jolly Weekend

No sooner had I returned home Friday afternoon than the decorating of the tree commenced. We had done preliminary set-up the previous night: James fetched the big wooden box containing the ornaments (which, upended, becomes the tree stand) from the closet and moved the loveseat so I could vacuum. As always the lights seemed to take forever.

It struck me as I started work that "Sara," the Christmas tree whose name I chronicled elsewhere, is starting to show her age. I had to wire the top branch on with florist's wire this year, and one of the very small branches right at the top has broken off entirely. I suppose these days 13 years old is quite elderly for an artificial Christmas tree.

I started at four and just in time for Holiday at Pops at eight, I was done. Tired, but happy and chowing down on the delightful fried rice mentioned in "Yet Another Journal," we watched the Boston Pops annual concert. Thank God this at least is still being covered by A&E and wasn't sold off to WBZ and CBS like Pops Goes the Fourth was! The guest were Vince Gill and Amy Grant, this year's Santa Claus was very funny, and as always the sing-a-long had us joining in (the dog gives us such weird looks when we sing).

Saturday morning was reserved for errands, then James went off to the International Plastic Modeler's Society's local Christmas party while I spent a little time cleaning and a bunch of time reading online. There's always a gift exchange and he lucked out and returned with his favorite type of plane, an F104 Starfighter. I wrapped his gifts while he was gone.

When he returned we set off on our yearly trek out to Birmingham for a friend's Christmas party. We don't get to see her that often (now that they've got "real stores" like Borders and Barnes & Noble in Birmingham, she doesn't have to make the trip to Atlanta as much), and all her goodies are homemade; she loves to cook and does it well. James came home with a nice plate of stuffed mushrooms.

The ride was pretty annoying this year; it rained both ways--it's a little over a 2-hour drive. We amused ourselves by listening to Fibber McGee and Molly Christmas episodes both ways.

The inevitable milk run came Sunday morning, then we were off to Stone Mountain Park where the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company was presenting their annual "An Atlanta Christmas" at Memorial Hall as part of what SMP called the "Fruitcake Festival" (yes, they served free fruitcake!). Because of the fruitcake moniker, the usual sketches were joined by a fruitcake-oriented episode of Daniel Taylor's rural comedy Bumper's Crossroads, plus a new Rory Rammer, Space Marshall (a hilarious send-up of the children's radio science fiction series of the 1940s and 50s written by Ron Butler) was also presented--not to mention Grandpa Bumper telling the story of "Ernie the Christmas Snail." The show was presented in two parts and between "sets" we chatted with friends and cooed over new baby Grace.

The weekend ended with James taking me out for my birthday dinner (call it delayed gratification). I'd like to say the entire experience was sterling, but while the three-meat ravioli at Olive Garden was excellent, I was seated where I could get a draft from the front door and I was freezing. OG was crowded and I was so hungry from having forgotten my sandwich before we dashed off to SMP that I didn't even think to at least try swapping seats at our table. I ate my entire dinner in my jacket and hat and was very glad to go home and thaw out and watch Disney World Christmas celebrations on the Travel Channel.

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