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 doeuvres beckoned from
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 seasons
greetings tree ornament, a square of dark chocolate with
a sugar candy attached and with each persons name
scrawled in icing on the back, a manicure-set for the
women, and a soft figurine tree ornament for the men.
(Kens ornament, just coincidentally was named Ho,
Ho, an evenings 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,
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 Danube cruise.
The table was partially cleared, but we were, once again,
too full to attempt dessert, so off to the living room we
lumbered, where Santas gift exchange-and-theft was
to be consummated. We drew lots in order of age, and
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 didnt 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. Kens
commodious mug, in use since the evenings
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 lovers 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 days 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 Years Eve and Day, and
more. The largest single topic ... was a recounting of
Tim and Judys 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
Chay and Deb, such friendship and
hospitality is treasured. Thank you, thank you, thank
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, to all.