New Year’s Day, we spent time on the Bolivar Peninsula. Looking toward the open sea, I saw a monster vessel coming in through the haze. Heading up the ship channel to one of the ports.
How many times did my father make that passage to Texas City? He worked in the engine room of an oil tanker. Sabine Towing and Transportation. S.S. Guadalupe. Diamond S. He sailed on the S.S. Brazos a time or two. The company was locally operated, though owned by Chromaloy. They took very good care of Daddy when he was sick. They flew him home one time when his bipolar depression got too bad while aboard ship. I remember he had lost his false teeth; and I remember going with Mother to the airport to pick him up.
I also remember the smell of his Old Spice cologne and King Edward cigars. The whiteness of his tee shirt. The tan of his khakis. How his head felt when Mother had freshly cut his hair. Just bare clippers run over his entire scalp. He liked pipes and Louis L’Amour. He preferred a flat bottom aluminum boat and running trot lines. He liked to squirrel hunt rather than deer hunt.
When he was younger and well, he always had a project going. Some scheme with fishing or planting or brewing usually. When he was older and sick, he would again try to work on projects.
He taught me how to fix bicycle tires and to tinker with lawn mowers. He let me paint the clothesline poles. He let me argue with him about current events. I would get so worked up and he would let me go on with my temper flaring. He never told me to be quiet or anything. Mother would finally intervene and hush us up. He didn’t get mad. He just seemed to want me to debate about things and to learn to see both sides of things. To look beyond my own scope of understanding and see something more. And to respect what generations before me had endured.
That ship in the haze certainly was real. And it definitely stirred up a ghost in my memories.
This past weekend was a whirlwind! We got up and went to my brother’s to have a short visit for his birthday. Then on to the party place to give the older Duchess a birthday present and get hugs. The younger Duchess was at both parties. Double blessings. Next, we rode out to Montgomery to a spectacular venue for a fairy tale wedding. Our life long friends’ son wed his beloved. Everything was lovely. The men all looked handsome in their suits. My girlfriend looked spectacular in her navy evening gown and made a wonderful showing dancing with her son. We all teared up watching. It was more touching than the bride and her father dancing.
Rock and I had an adventure riding home. Following the google map in the dark along unfamiliar back roads. We stopped to eat at Whataburger in Livingston in our evening attire. He had shed his coat and tie, but was still gorgeous in his red shirt. We enjoyed our time to visit with each other while riding all over the place capturing moments with very important people.
Sunday, I cooked turkey and dressing, dumplings and all for a belated Thanksgiving meal. We ended up only having all the girls. The Duchesses and their mothers. Their daddies couldn’t attend. The girls play well together for the most part. They are very loud when they get going at times. Running and screaming through the house.
I have a set of china that was a gift to my parents from my maternal grandmother. I don’t know how she afforded it, but there are twelve place settings and some side pieces. I always use it for Thanksgiving. I want the children to have memories of it when I am gone and they are old.
We serve ourselves buffet style. I’ve never really tried boarding house style. Think the Walton’s or the Picket House. All the food in serving bowls on the table being passed around. I think I would like it and I certainly have the bowls for it. Maybe we can give it a trial run in the spring.
Christmas is usually a casual arrangement of hors d’oeuvres and sandwich trays. Platters of cookies and a few pies make dessert. Throwaway plates are the usual for that day. Shooting and opening gifts are the main events for Christmas Eve. Though I would be in serious trouble if I didn’t serve Cheese Torte and Ham Rolls.
I have waited till this week to start on Christmas decorating. I got the tree out of the closet. It’s still in the box. I should have everything done up by Friday. I hope I have enough working lights to go around. I want to have it done by then because I should have a Duchess over to spend some time with me. One this weekend and one another. I like the private times I have with each of them. Time to give each my undivided attention. And to get some undivided attention. Grannies need to feel loved by their grands. So do Paw Paws.
In this season of festivities, I will make time to be quiet with as many of the ones I hold dearest as possible. Yes, we will play and feast and have a ball. But we will connect more deeply, too. If we make it a point to do so. Intention is the word currently in fashion. It is an idea that should never be out of fashion.