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Holly and the Ivy

“The holly’s up;
the house is all bright.
The tree is ready;
the candles alight.
Rejoice and be glad,
all children tonight.”
“The Holly and the Ivy”
A German Christmas carol by
P. Cornelius (1824-1870)

The holly is not yet twined around the banister to the second floor, a victim of a flurry of Christmas parties and of Christmas cards written at the last minute. When the kids were little, Hubby would be working more hours at his second job at Purity-Supreme Market in Fields Corner during Thanksgiving week and I would write our cards. Gone are those days!

I must mention that cousins Carolyn and Rock invited our whole family to their home for Thanksgiving this year. It was a cold day as we drove to Norwell. In the back seat of the car, Daughter Sue held onto the chocolate pudding pie that she had made. We had chips and dip, all kinds of soda, and even a couple of bottles of Welch’s Sparking Grape Juice with us. We also brought along one half gallon of Garelick Eggnog. Carolyn and Rock were very busy when we walked in the door. Their daughter Katie was a big help, scouring the cooking pans. The family cats were walking around the first floor, taking note of all the activity. The dining room table was all set for us.

We did have on the TV on Thanksgiving because the Patriots were playing the Detroit Lions that afternoon. (It was a great game that the Patriots won, 20 to 12.) Daughter Jeanne, son-in-law David, and the World’s Greatest Grandchildren, Brendan and Erin, came in and made a beeline for Rock’s computer because Rock had put a new game on it. (I think it was Dominoes.) Then son Paul joined us. His wife Alex was taking her Mom Sara to a relative’s home for Thanksgiving. Also joining us for a little while was cousin Richard. Julianna, Richard’s daughter, sorry to say, was too sick to come for the holiday. While watching the TV, we had cheese and crackers and chips and dip, made with Knorr Leek Soup Mix, along with Lightly-Salted Chips—a tasty combination.

Then we were invited to come to the table, which was ladened with food. There was turkey with two different kinds of stuffing, the usual type and also one made with apples. We had mashed potatoes and several veggies. For dessert, Rock had made an apple pie. It wasn’t a huge, mile-high kind of pie that used to be sold at the Flower Shows but it could easily be termed a half-mile-high pie. (It was packed with apples.) Daughter Jeanne had made small pineapple-upside-down cakes in little ceramic dishes. Sue’s chocolate pudding pie was on the table, also. Before we went home, Carolyn gave us lots of food to take home with us. We had the scrumptious leftovers for dinner on Friday evening. I must admit that our whole family had a great time with the family cats, “Kittery” and “Sanford.” If they weren’t coming over to be petted, they were on the windowsill right near the computer. They are both beautiful cats. We thank Carolyn and Rock and Katie, too, for the wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

On Thanksgiving, Carolyn’s niece Laura called from Minneapolis to chat with all of us. She told us that she had already had snow. Laura, her husband Jared, along with their boys Elliot and Calvin, have been very busy. Laura is being transferred to Europe and is taking a new job within her company. The family’s furniture, she told us, was on a ship headed for Europe. Their home in Minneapolis, I believe, is already sold and they are leasing furniture until they leave the U.S. right after Christmas. We all wish Laura, Jared, and their boys, Elliot and Calvin, a wonderful and successful time in Europe. What a terrific chance to travel!

About the beginning of October, daughter Sue told me to keep Sunday, November 14th free. She mentioned that she, Paul, and Jeanne were going to have a 50th anniversary party for us. “I am not going to tell you whom we are inviting.” As it came closer to the day, Sue told Hubby and me that the party was going to be at a brunch at the Fox and Hounds Restaurant in Quincy. I bought two new tops that I thought were pretty but ended up returning both to the store. I wore an old blouse because it was very comfortable.

One evening, Sue came in with seven table centerpieces. They were 6-inch candles with glass chimneys. Daughters Sue and Jeanne went out and came back with some supplies and gold-colored paper doilies to place under the candles. (Never fear about the paper; the restaurant didn’t allow the candles to be lit.) The two girls also asked to see some of our wedding photos. Jeanne snatched them away and proceeded to have them photocopied. Both girls made a collage of photos on a sturdy cardboard. There was even a copy of our wedding info from St. Kevin’s Church. The photos were in pretty good shape after 50 years and photocopied well.

On the day of the brunch, Hubby and I drove into the parking lot of the Fox and Hounds. We saw Jeanne’s van and parked right next to it. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot that day. Little did we know that the occupants of the cars were mostly at our function. I was stunned at the number of people in our private room, right near the buffet tables. Jeanne, David, and the World’s Greatest Grandchildren, Brendan and Erin, were seated right near the door. Sitting with them were David and Jeanne’s good friends Steve and his wife Joanne. Son Paul and daughter-in-law Alex were right behind them. Daughter Sue was near them. Pal Eileen was there and was soon joined by her sister Lorraine.
Also right near the door was my former co-worker Sue, who brought her Mom Doris. (Doris was feeling much better after a brief hospitalization.) My pal and former co-worker Ginny was ill (with no voice), came in for just a few minutes, and then left. Pal and co-worker Barbie and her son Joey were sitting with Sue and her Mom.

Cousins Carolyn and Rock were sitting with our grandkids. So were cousins John and Mary, who will be married 65 years right after Christmas. Cousins Margie and Janet were sitting with their brother, my cousin Bobby. Many of Bobby’s kids and grandkids were there: son Kevin, his wife Dara, and their kids Ryan and Adam; daughter Lisa and her husband Harry; daughter Lynda; and son Donald with his daughters Elizabeth and Cristina. Donald’s wife Tara was unable to come to the party because she had just broken her rib while sneezing! Bobby’s youngest son David and his wife Courtney, both Majors in the Army, were unable to get away from West Point, where both are stationed.

The ones who traveled the farthest to come to our party were Hubby’s brother John and his wife Joe Ann, all the way from Virginia. They sat with his and Hubby’s sister Peg and niece Terri. Cousin Tina, God bless her!, drove all the way from New Jersey by herself. Cousin Jo and her husband Joe came all the way from Syracuse, New York. They sat with her brother/my cousin Larry and his wife Michele. Our long-time dear friends Tom and Barbara joined us from their home in Houghs Neck. (Many a happy party Hubby and I have attended at their home.) Our pals Michael and Jean, who are very good friends of Margie and Janet, were at the party, also.

In addition to Hubby’s niece Terri, his nephew Steve was there with his wife Judi, his daughter Ashley, and her boyfriend Kurt Bonin. So was Hubby’s nephew David, his wife Mary, and their daughter Renee. Also attending the party were my cousin and Godson Richard, Diane, and their daughter Julianna. Our longtime friends, from our four years at State Teachers’ College at Boston, Elaine and Agnes, with Ag’s daughter Patty, were there. I recalled how I met Agnes our first day at State in Sept. 1952, when we were signing in at the school. We met Elaine sometime within a month of starting at State.

I tried to introduce everyone at the party. Thanks goodness, I remembered everyone. (Cousin Larry was a big help because he taped much of the party for us.) Also, while everyone was chatting, daughter Jeanne and son-in-law David had brought a VCR to the Fox and Hounds, so we were able to see a tape of our wedding 50 years ago. How I wish I could thank my late Uncle Tip for taping parts of our wedding and reception for us. Also included on the tape were tiny segments of son Paul and also daughter Sue leaving the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury, just a few days after their births. A little while later on the tape, Tip, always the jokester, stopped filming and moved Paul to a different place than on the sofa where Godmother Margie was dressing him for his Christening. He ,asked Margie to hold Paul while he put a doll in Paul’s place and had the doll fall off the sofa onto the floor. It was done so quickly that everybody, on first seeing it, thought that it was Paul who fell on the floor. There will be a little more about our 50th anniversary celebration in next week’s column.

Hurray! The red and green lights are finally on the Rainbow Gas Tank! Christmas is really coming.
We finally have the boxes of Christmas cards down from the attic. I still have an autumn wreath on the front door, much to my dismay. I haven’t been able to get up to the attic to find our Christmas wreath. Hubby has the Christmas lights along the porch railing, with a huge white electric star on the rose trellis. “Mickey Mouse” wishes everyone a “Merry Christmas” on the wooden sign right near the front stairs. Hubby, our kids, and our grandkids wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas!