First, a thank you, with much appreciation, goes to
Chay and Deb, from all of us for an event, never taken for granted but
savored with anticipation, that anticipation waxing as that evening draws
nigh. Your hosting of this event is one of the highlights of our year,
culinary and otherwise.
Strings of white lights draping the larger trees,
complemented by the blue lights on the small evergreen, pierced the night
sky, initiating the Christmas mood. No snow covered the ground, a rarity
for the greater Freehold area. (The 1.36 inches of dustings accumulated so
far have all evaporated.)
Krypton greeted us from his pad; ill health made a personal greeting too
difficult. Kiki, surprisingly, showed up periodically throughout the
evening, and Katy probably would have, too, if she had not been
accidentally locked upstairs.
Upon entering just after 6 p.m., coats were gathered, greetings given,
Chay efficiently fulfilled our drinking preferences, and we gathered
around the magnet that is the kitchen island, not just because it is
comfortable but also because the hors d’oeuvres beckoned from there.
We chatted, sat for salad about 7:15, and enacted the preliminaries. We
oohed and ahhed over the details that Deb and Chay prepared. Favors
included a season’s greetings tree ornament, a square of dark chocolate
with a sugar candy attached and with each person’s name scrawled in
icing on the back, a manicure-set for the women, and a soft figurine tree
ornament for the men. (Ken’s ornament, just coincidentally was named Ho,
Ho, an evening’s motif.)
Then we popped the party poppers, donned our paper hats to be
photographed, threw the confetti contained therein, and took turns reading
the corny, but anticipated, riddles.
A Christmas-y green cloth overspread the table, with place settings, water
glasses, several red candles, and wooden hot plates already in place.
The intermezzo was a chance to try one of our favorite sorbets, soon to be
followed by the parade of main course dishes. Deb & Chay had prepared
two separate roasts to accommodate the spectrum of tastes. The side dishes
were a combination of old favorites (corn pudding), and the
new-to-most-of-us (bread pudding, roadside potatoes). A major strand of
conversation was about traveling, and, in particular, the Adamses’
The table was partially cleared, but we were, once again, too full to
attempt dessert, so off to the living room we lumbered, where Santa’s
gift exchange-and-theft was to be consummated. We drew lots in order of
age, and thence started.
Gifts included a wireless thermometer, a two-storied birdhouse birdfeeder,
a metal wine rack with a bottle of red, a large red bowl with plate combo,
a set of four hand-painted Santa wine glasses, a mini-tool set and
car-connected air pump, a Hungarian linen table runner & a carved star
ornament, and a fire pit kettle grill. Along the way, Ken stole the
wireless thermometer from Kriss (!) to make sure she didn’t give it
away; Don stole the birdfeeder; Chay light-fingered the glasses; and in an
act of classic humanitarianism (or, guilt), Kriss, with the last chance to
steal, declined to do so. No one had his/her heart broken, and we seemed
satisfied with the loot left at our feet.
Back to the table for the final course. Ken’s commodious mug, in use
since the evening’s beginning, was a magnet for warnings about spilling
coffee, even though he claimed innocence, and we watched with intent eyes
as the desserts arrived. Deb had threatened us to praise and commend her
efforts and quality of the tart, but threats were not needed. And the cake
fulfilled every chocolate lover’s craving.
Discussion topics ranged the gamut – from well wishes for all our
welfare, to the giggly, to the profane and obscene. And, Kriss pretended
to not notice the worst of it, and possibly tee-heed through some of it.
“...” was liberally incanted a couple dozen times, usually at Judy who
had given Ken a dose of his ‘sign’ while ‘...’ was flung a few
times in self-defense. And this is a DP8 Christmas!
Other topics included: Krypton, the Romalins (who missed their
first DP8 Christmas), snow days, stories of discipline woes at Hudson, the
Teator Christmas the week before, happenings in DC, ..., cold but dry
weather, neighbor Nick, completion (or lack thereof) of Christmas
shopping, upcoming retirement decisions, a 50-something birthday party,
the next day’s event at the Freehold Pub, new eateries in the area
(Saloon, Castle Tower), ..., sign language and fingers, dates and
locations for the next few dp8 events, blue Christmas lights, someone
wearing a tutu that became a ‘four-four,’ our three moms still alive,
New Year’s Eve and Day, and more. The largest single topic ... was a
recounting of Tim and Judy’s ten days on the Danube (Passau to Budapest)
and in Budapest.
Nearing 11:30, an awareness of lateness hit, clean-up started (but
not finished), we collected our belongings, and departed to cold car, cold
December air, and warm house.
Chay and Deb, such friendship and hospitality
is treasured. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, to all.