Friday, November 26, 2021

Angel’s Envy, Turkey Day, Christmas Trees, and Cinderella

I don't always drink Angel’s Envy, but when I do, it’s
because some awesome friends are awesome.

For Ms. B. and me, the Thanksgiving weekend kicked off on Wednesday afternoon, as work let out at lunchtime. This worked out great for us because we had company — friends Stephen Provost & Samaire Wynne — coming over for drinks and dinner early in the evening. We ended up having a lovely visit, with Marco’s Pizza and some excellent Italian wine on the menu. To top things off, they brought over a bottle of Angel’s Envy bourbon, which turned out to be delightful. A fine spirit, it is, with silky undertones and a long finish that gets mellower and mellower. I loved it. And a thousand thanks to Stephen & Samaire. Awesome friends indeed!

On Thursday — Thanksgiving Day — morning, Brugger and I rose pretty early and headed out to Browns Summit, the headquarters of friends Tom (a.k.a. Skyhawk63) & Linda (a.k.a. Punkins19) for a geocaching breakfast event. Tom served homemade biscuits with lots of fixings, not to mention coffee aplenty. A decent-size crowd showed up, and that really got the day off to a perfect start.

From there, Ms. B. and I headed back home and started prepping the feast. I had gotten us a big ol’ turkey breast, which I seasoned and got cooking straightaway. We smashed some potatoes, cooked up some gravy, Brugger made a batch of savory mushroom & gruyere tarts, and we topped that off with large green salads. I was a little afeared I might have overcooked the dead bird when I checked the meat thermometer, but no... it was delicious and done just right — as was everything. As far as Thanksgiving Day dinners go, this one could hardly have been better (although, at the end of it, I was too full to partake of the cheesecake we had for afters; I’ll enjoy that later).

I had decided a while back, with Ms. B.’s blessing, that I would spend Thanksgiving night as well as some extra time at Pleasant Hill, the old homestead. So, after dinner settled a bit, I hit the road and headed first to Oak Ridge, just northwest of Greensboro, to snag a newish geocache. Upon giving the map a look, I noticed there was another cache over in Walnut Cove, a few miles farther northwest. So, I decided to go check that one out as well. I was pleased to see it was located at a graveyard, since graveyard caches are typically among my favorite. It turned out to be a fun cache indeed. That little side trip done, I continued on to Martinsville.

Many of my readers no doubt know that, against every conceivable expectation, I am the last of the family I grew up with. I lost my dad to complications from diabetes two decades ago. Last year, I lost my mom to COVID-19. Earlier this year, my younger brother passed away of leukemia. Now and again, these losses still overwhelm me. While my family was alive, Christmas was a momentous holiday. Mom always loved having a Christmas tree, and she collected a prodigious number of ornaments over her lifetime, most having some special significance. For those several years that she was debilitated with dementia, I kept that tree going up every Christmas. And now that she is gone... that they’re all gone... I treasure putting up the tree. So, on this night, at the house where I grew up... the place my mom loved most... I put up the tree and decorated it. An emotionally tough yet heartwarming undertaking.  I did this to honor my family that was. I imagine I will do this for as long as I physically can.

Kimberly and I will spend our holidays celebrating the family that is. My daughter, Allison, is remote, but close in heart, I know. So this is how I’m starting my Christmas season. It does hurt, but there is also a wonderful refuge in so many memories of perfect times — particularly during the holiday season — with my old family.

That done — and you can roll your eyes all you want to — for some reason, I felt drawn to put on the 1965 Rodgers & Hammerstein production of Cinderella, starring Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon. I hadn’t seen it, or even really thought about it, since I was a kid. Something about last night’s onslaught of childhood memories, I suppose. Anyway, I went ahead and watched it on YouTube. Was it any good? Well, I dunno; it was pretty much Cinderella as we all know the story. Since I still have something of a soft spot for old musicals, I found a couple of the songs pretty good. A handful of lines made me crack a smile. So I guess you could say I enjoyed it. I am certain it is not going into the regular holiday video rotation.

This morning, I found breakfast at The Ground Floor, a relatively new coffee shop uptown, and then headed out on a geocache maintenance run, first to Philpott Dam, then to a couple around Martinsville. The hiking did me a world of good. On the way back, I grabbed a nice lunch at Hugo’s, also uptown. And this afternoon, now I’ve gotten this blog composed, I have a bunch of writing to do for upcoming projects. And thus I shall.

I’ll be back.
Philpott Dam

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