Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keeping Our Holidays Straight

Our Thanksgiving in Dallas was uneventful.

Andrew and I did nothing and went nowhere—we did not leave my aunt and uncle’s house the entire weekend—and neither did anyone else, except my mother, my aunt and my sister went out to explore some weekend holiday sales early Friday morning.

Last year we spent Thanksgiving Weekend in Dallas, too. At least last year we all went out, once, to attend a performance at Dallas’s new opera house. We attended a performance by the local ballet company of “The Nutcracker”, and we did so primarily in order to experience the new opera house.

The only thing playing in Dallas last weekend was the very same production of “The Nutcracker”, and none of us wanted to see the production a second time.

Had we been ambitious, we might have gone out to visit the Dallas Museum Of Art, which is not supposed to be very good—or, better yet, gone to Fort Worth to visit the Kimbell Art Museum, which indeed is a very, very good museum.

We were not ambitious, however, and we stayed in, watching football games and eating.

We had turkey and ham for Thanksgiving dinner, with two kinds of stuffing. We had mashed potatoes, candied yams, peas, a vegetable casserole and two kinds of cranberry salad. For dessert, we had pumpkin pie, cranberry-nut pie, cheesecake (my sister loves my aunt’s cheesecake) and brownies (my brother loves my aunt’s brownies).

The foods from Thanksgiving continued to feed us through Saturday’s lunch, but on Saturday night my aunt prepared her special pepper steak. Andrew liked the pepper steak no end. In fact, Andrew liked it so much that my aunt prepared it again for Sunday’s lunch—and no one complained.

Our trip to Dallas provided us with a warm, mellow, carefree holiday—and it was the last thing on the cards for Andrew and me until my exams (which begin in ten days) are over.

Andrew and I did something silly today: we went out and bought a Christmas tree.

Last year, we did not get a Christmas tree, although we had done so the previous year.

Last year, we had a much longer Christmas holiday at our disposal, sixteen days in all, with several pre-Christmas days in Minnesota, and we had decided last year that no Christmas tree in Boston was necessary.

This year, however, is very much like two years ago, when our calendars allowed only a short holiday of just over a week. Because Andrew and I must remain in Boston until the morning of the 23rd this year, we decided this morning to buy a tree and get a head start on celebrating the season.

We decorated the tree this afternoon—and afterward we made a few Christmas cookies, which seemed the appropriate thing to do. We made a nut cookie that required a cookie press, date-nut cookies involving two layers of pastry, and Linzer cookies, which also involve two layers of pastry. The latter, to be precise, are not Christmas cookies, but we think of them as festive.

The cookies actually turned out. We ate a few this afternoon, with eggnog, and we will have more tonight.

We are in the midst of preparing a major dinner: lobster bisque; baked tomatoes stuffed with seasonings, fresh vegetables and rice; and seasoned pork loin, potato pancakes, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and hot, homemade applesauce.

Between the fresh evergreen tree and the fresh applesauce, the apartment is filled with a wonderful array of smells. The Christmas tree lights are blinking, and Easter music is playing in the background (Beethoven’s “Christ On The Mount Of Olives”).

I believe we are having trouble keeping our holidays straight!

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