A Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmas 2013 was a very different one for the Becker’s - instead of our traditional country Christmas eve hike, early dinner - something fancy like steak or shrimp - and then opening gifts, Tom and I found ourselves on a road trip to Denver to spend the holiday with Beau and my Aunt Marcia and my cousins. We managed to skirt storms across Iowa, squeezing in a visit with Tom’s Aunt Virginia in Waterloo, and a memorable dinner in Souix City with our good friends, John and Cynthia Donovan, Rick and Frank and Jason and Ron. The next morning we breezed through Nebraska and arrived in Colorado under sunny skies and fifty degree temperatures. We arrived at Beau’s apartment with a Charlie Brown Christmas cedar from home and a couple of silly ornaments - next year I will improve upon that.
Christmas eve was spent catching up over cocktails, snacks and my cousin, Tim’s, smooth-as-silk fudge at Aunt Marcia’s condo, and then over to my cousin Sheila and her husband, Ara’s home, for beef stew, homemade molasses bread and egg nog. These two are no slouches in the cooking and entertaining department as we found out the next day - they had enough room, table space, silver, china - even festive holiday napkin rings for all twenty three family members who were coming for Christmas dinner - which was spectacular - glazed hams, green bean casseroles, oven-roasted potatoes that my cousin Matt made - about forty pounds of them! - and gingerbread cake with the best lemon sauce I have ever tasted. But several hours before we ate the Becker’s headed downtown for an urban hike in Confluence Park - where the Platte River and Cherry Creek combine, under sunny skies with the Colorado Rockies in view - lots of other folks had the same idea - even Santa was paddling on his long board on the Confluence.
Back at Sheila’s we ate, played cards, I made origami cranes with Matt’s daughter, Katie and Johnny’s daughter, Gracie, and then we opened gifts. The next day I shopped a few after-christmas sales at Cherry Creek Mall while Tom and Beau picked up Beau’s new-to-him Subaru Legacy GT - a car that gets good gas mileage and has an engine (and transmission!) that will get him out to those mountains.
And later that evening when it came time to say goodbye to Beau, I did my best to be stoic and not cry - there would be plenty of time for that on the way home - but a part of me couldn’t help but be happy - we did our best to raise our son to be independent and here he was, a thousand miles from home, reconnected with family he barely knew, working hard to pay for his own place and a nicer vehicle, has a few new friends and even more plans for the future.
This was not the Christmas I am used to, but it was good. No, it was better than good. I feel reconnected, too. And the new year? I think it will be as zesty and delicious as a bowl full of Sheila’s luscious lemon sauce.