Merry Christmas…Winter Solstice

Today is December 21, the Winter Solstice. So what is the Winter Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the official start of winter. Tonight will also be the night for the “great conjunction”. That will happen when Jupiter and Saturn, the two biggest planets of our solar system, will look like one bright star, the “Christmas Star”. It is a rare celestial event that hasn’t happened for 400 years. So many people will be out watching tonight with their binoculars, telescopes or naked eye. We are now only 4 days from Christmas and our daylight will again begin to lengthen. Oh how we all love the longer days to be outside when spring and summer arrive.

So here is this cute little poem. It was written definitely with the year 2020 in mind.

T”was 3 weeks before Christmas, And all through the town…..People wore Masks, That covered their frown.

The frown had begun, Way back in the Spring,….When a Global Pandemic, Changed everything.

They called it Corona, But unlike the beer…..It didn’t bring good times, It didn’t bring cheer.

Airplanes were grounded, Travel was banned…..Borders were closed, Across air, sea and land.

As the world entered lockdown, To flatten the curve…..The economy halted, And folks lost their nerve

From March to July, We rode the first wave…..People stayed home, They tried to behave.

When summer emerged, The lockdown was lifted…..But away from caution, Many folks drifted.

Now it’s December, And cases are spiking…..Wave two has arrived, Much to our disliking.

It’s true that this year, Has had sadness a plenty…..We’ll never forget, The year 2020

And just “round the corner” The Holiday Season…..But why be merry? Is their even one Reason?

To decorate the house, And put up the tree…..Who will see it, No one but me.

But outside my window The snow gently falls…..And I think to myself, Let’s deck the halls!

So I gather the ribbons, The garland and bows…..As I play those old Carols, My happiness grows.

Christmas is not cancelled, And neither is hope…..If we can lean on each other, I know we can cope.

Surprise Thanksgiving with the Kids

The 3rd of November I headed north to Illinois to surprise the kids, grandkids and especially Cameron for Thanksgiving. Tammy has been working in Texas since July decided to go, as well as Cassidy who has been with me for the last month.

Rich has been up north working Harvest again this year. Cameron closed on his new house in early Sept. He wanted to have an early Thanksgiving at his new home before Grandpa left for Texas. Rich asked me about flying up for a surprise. That sounded like a great idea. Really nothing much is happening here at the park for Activities because of Covid. The halls are closed down. So plans were made, and I bought my ticket to fly into Midway in Chicago on Tuesday November 3rd. The dinner was planned for the following Sunday. Tammy decided to take time off, so her and Cassidy packed up their car and drove up.

Tammy dropped me off at the Harlingen airport on a beautiful sunny morning and then headed north for her long drive. The flight up the coast to Houston is always so beautiful. After a 3 hour layover, I boarded my next plane and flew into Midway Airport in Chicago.

It was a beautiful flight landing at night seeing the Chicago skyline in the distance. Rich picked me up and we headed home to Mcnabb. Tammy and Cassidy arrived the next day. She usually drives nonstop in 21 hours. Now I thought this was a secret, so Tammy and I was very careful to not go outside so the neighbors couldn’t see us. Then we found out Rich had told Brandy. Of course Brandy told Scott. And he also told Sandbergs, who he works for…..lol…..He just can’t keep a secret. So Thursday night we went up to the bar since it wasn’t a secret anymore from the locals.

Tina knew we were coming because Tammy was going to take Carly for the week. Fortunately they were doing a week of E-Learning so school wouldn’t be a problem. So Grandpa went over to Tina’s and told Carly they were going to do some errand’s. When Carly came walking into the house, we hid under the blankets on the sofa. She was so surprise when she finally figured it all out. She was excited to have her Mama home.

Still Cameron didn’t know we were home, so we decided to “prank him“….lol…This was going to be so much fun… He works all day, so Tammy felt safe to drive over to Hennepin. Carly and her hung Christmas decorations on his lights on the house and on the garage. Carly was having so much fun, being part of the secret. We waited to see if he would call somebody, but……nothing….

So the next day was Friday. What to do!! What to do next!!! The girls brought Tammy’s large flocked Christmas tree over complete with tree skirt, and decorated it with lights and ornaments. They put it right in front Cameron’s garage door. They hung lights from the tree to the garage lights on each side. They also decorated his little white corner fence at the end of the driveway.

We decided to sneak over and hide in the garage that night and surprise him when he came home. We were so excited to see his reaction when he seen us. We had grandpa call him and see when he was going home. We were sitting in the living room at home when Tammy seen lights out of the corner of her eye. ….. OMG….He wasn’t suppose to come here! We ran for the bedroom and hid. Grandpa met him at the back door. Cameron said later he wondered why Grandpa didn’t seem to want him in the house….Cameron noticed a car in the driveway which was Tammy’s rental car. Now grandpa has a very hard time lying….lol. ..He said it was the neighbor’s company. They didn’t want to park at their house….“Cameron, lol why on earth did you believe that…..That car had Texas plates”? That was really a dumb answer. lol Finally he had to go down stairs to get some clothes. Carly and Tammy layed on the floor and listened. Finally he said he was going home. After he left the 3 of us got in the car and flew down to Hennepin hoping to beat him. We parked across a grassy area from his house…..We hurried up and ran into the garage….It was 6:30pm and dark.

This was the sight from the inside looking through the rollup door window. We waited……and waited….It got cold, remember I’m used to Texas weather. It was probably in the 50’s. We called Grandpa and asked him to call Cameron. He called back, Cameron was at a friends and would be home soon. We waited….and waited…..We got colder….We called Ed, Tina’s husband at 8pm. He called and told Cameron he had the chairs and table for Thanksgiving to set up in his garage. Cameron said he was going through Granville and would be home shortly……We waited…… and waited…..Finally about 8:40, I was watching out the window and ………FINALLY……headlights rounded the corner.!!!!!

We ran for the bathroom. Tammy and Carly hid behind the door. Tammy had her phone ready to video him through the crack by the hinges as he walked in. We watched him slowly, ….slowly. …. approach the garage door. He stopped and sat their for a few minutes. I was sure wondering what he was thinking. I was looking through the crack of the door. Finally he got out, left the car running, walked ever so slowly to the walk in door. He opened it and flicked the lights on…….He made a phone call as he started walking around in the garage. He called Tina. He asked her if she had been over to his house yesterday or today. Then he proceeded to tell her angrily, how somebody had put Christmas decorations on his lights yesterday, and today he just pulled in and in front of his garage was a big F…….ing Christmas tree all lite up and decorated…….Thats about the time we all lost it.!!!!

Carly was laughing and giggling and trying so hard to stop. Cameron said in the phone….“Wait, i hear someone. Theirs kids in the bathroom”…….OMG…..We were doubled over in laughter. He came walking back to the bathroom. I think he was a bit scared as to what he might find. As he finally seen me, his face was priceless……..He said….“How did you get here”….and then his mom came around the corner. He was so surprised. He was very happy to see us, but not happy about the decorations. He made Tammy and Carly bring in the tree and take all decorations down. But it was all so worth it.

A “Thanksgiving to Remember”…..

On Saturday we went back to his house to clean up for Sunday. The family was all invited, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. and some friends. We had so much food.

Finally we took family pictures.

Rich and me on the Left…..Brother John on far right. His son, Jon and Steph and the rest is our family.
Cousins……Jon, and our kids….Tammy, Scott, and Tina
Grandkids…..Cameron, Miley, Cassidy, Carly, and Austin
Scott relaxing after dinner
Aunt Connie teaching Austin about rocks
I made Tina this box for her Putnam County Clerk Office cause I had to pay for postage to send my Voting Ballet by Mail…lol

We had a wonderful afternoon. The weather was beautiful, so I walked around and took pictures of Camerons new house. It sits right on the edge of town, on a dead end street a block from the Illinois River. Next to the back hard is a huge ravine that winds down to the river. It is full of huge trees and brush. A haven for birds and wildlife. When I walked back their, I seen several white tailed deer run up the hill on the other side. It is so pretty. Cameron said he has deer in his yard all the time, even wander up at the windows of the house. The lady who he purchased it from said deer would come right up to her flower garden in front of her picture window. Wouldn’t that be so awesome to watch them as you sat in your recliner!

Backyard
Big Ravine, winding to the Illinois just out of view
Back of his house and garage. He has car doors on both ends of the garage. Really nice
Front of his house.
Front living room with French doors into the Kitchen
Sliding doors to the front outside….
Kitchen with stairs going up to 2 bedrooms behind wall on the right
Other living room that he wants to convert to a dinning room

Cameron has found a home perfect for him. It was recently remodeled. It has 3 bedrooms, 1 down and 2 up. 2 living rooms, 1 could be closed off for winter if he would choose to, simply by closing the french doors and the other could be a dinning room. The garage is huge, 3 car I think, with a bathroom, 2 large garage doors and a wall of kitchen cabinets. It is like living in the woods at the edge of town. His job with Humpty Dump, driving and delivering dumpsters is only blocks away. He has come so far this past year. He continually keeps amazing us. Before we left, we celebrated Ed’s Birthday.”Happy 41st Birthday Ed” ……We had a cookout at Cameron’s. His garage is going to be quite handy for family gatherings.

Before we left I had to have Taco’s at “One Pawz Pub”. These are deep fried Tavern Taco’s. You can’t find them in Texas like this. Is this a northern thing? But they are so so good. Brandy was cooking and Scott was their also, so we all got together for one last time before leaving.

Finally we left, Tammy and Cassidy left first as she needed to get back in Texas to see where they would send her next. I road home with Rich and we took several days. Time to relax and take our time.

Then we Quarantined for 2 weeks cause it was the right thing to do…..