Doug and I just got back from my work Christmas party. It was at the home of one of our surgeons, Dr. Taliaferro. There were a lot of people there from each of the areas surrounding and completing all of the aspects of the Surgical Services. There was delicious food, lots of decoration, festive attire and the singing of Christmas carols.
I would say it was a fun, enjoyable and successful party.
Doug found a new friend - which was actually an old acquaintance from his college days. He overheard someone talking about foosball (one of his loves) and decided to get into the conversation. He and Brett (the new/old friend) laughed and talked and tentatively have decided to play a little foosball.
When we left the party, we drove through some of "old Elmwood" to look at the houses and Christmas lights. The lights change from year to year. Some years, it seems, there are just a few houses with lights and some years there are lots and lots of decorated houses. It seems a bit skimpy this year, but it reminds me... of when I was little.
Mom used to get me and my brothers all dressed in our "jammies" and load us up in the car to go look at the Christmas lights. Daddy would drive around in "old Elmwood," the same neighborhood area that Doug and I drove around in tonight. Daddy would creep along, down the street, and we would all be oooing and awwing at all of the pretty lights and colors that we saw. Back then I think nearly every house had some lights and we were out for HOURS.
Doug and I took our kids a few times to look at the lights (in the same neighborhood). It didn't seem as much fun taking my own kids as it was when I was the kid. My kids didn't want to drive slow or look at every house. They would look some and then they wanted to go home. Sometimes I think that it is impossible to recreate good memories - the appreciation just isn't transferable.
Several years ago, my dad rented one of the city buses that was driving the "Christmas Lights" tour. My entire family went. Mom and Dad, my brother Wally and his family, Doug, me, our kids, Doug's sisters Jan and Jill and their families - probably twenty two or so in all. We met up at the church building and boarded the bus. The driver took us all over town to wherever the best lights were and we sang Christmas carols while we were riding around and looking at the lights.
One of the last places we went to was the Abilene State School. They have a large display every year that is really lit up brightly and quite festive. Local businesses sponsor each different display, so you can spend a long time there looking at all of them. Since it was the longest part of the "tour", the people in charge there had made it a refreshment stop as well. We all got off of the bus and had hot chocolate. We even got to have a picture taken with Santa Clause. It is amazing how many people you can fit into one Polaroid photo and still make out the faces! (I wonder who ended up with that picture?)
When the tour was finished, we were dropped off back at the church building. We went inside for a final cup of hot chocolate and cake or cookies - something I don't remember. We also took just a few minutes to play a game. Jan and I had wrapped up miniature chocolate bars to look like presents and wrapped a one dollar bill with one of the bars. We all sat in a circle and one of us read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas. Each time the word "and" was said we had to pass our package to the right. When the story was finished, we opened the present we were holding. I don't remember who got the one dollar bill. I know it sounds goofy, but it was fun. After that, we all went home.
We are going to play that game this year during our Christmas, but it will be altered just a little bit... the presents will be better.
I hope you will all think back to some of the traditions that you had when you were growing up and share some of those memories with your children, families and friends.
I am looking forward to Christmas, both here and in Clovis. I hope you are looking forward to your Christmas too.