Saturday, December 25, 2021

One Dark Christmas Night...

I mean, really. It is one dark night out there.

Ms. B. and I enjoyed a lovely Christmas day today. A lovely Christmas week, all things considered. I mean, over the past couple of years, the world has set itself on one hell of a new and different course, at least for me. Mom died in 2020. My brother died earlier this year. Brugger and I got married and moved in together. We have five cats. There's a pandemic. Even since this time last year, the world feels like a wildly different — and oftentimes tougher — place to live.

This was the first Christmas that Brugger and I have spent together as a married couple, and the first I've ever spent in my own home in Greensboro. As a youngster, the family always spent the holidays with my grandparents in Georgia. Even when I moved to Chicago in the 1980s, I always came south for Christmas. After the grandparents all passed away, the family spent Christmases together at the old homestead in Martinsville. And so it has been even up to last year, when Kimberly and I celebrated Christmas at Pleasant Hill, just the two of us.
Christmas Eve sunset from The Vino Shoppe in High Point
This past week, we had several little celebrations to lead up to the big day. Wednesday, we went to dinner at GIA - Eat. Drink. Listen, which we hadn't visited since before the pandemic set in. Yesterday, for Christmas Eve, we drove over to High Point for an open house hosted by our friend Kelly, who used to work with us at the old office. Then, following longstanding tradition, Ms. B. and I went out for wine. Typically, we've gone to the Grove Winery on Christmas Eve, though this year, the Grove was closed. Since we were in High Point for the open house, we opted for The Vino Shoppe, which we hit on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago. The decent wine and all-around nice atmosphere made us smile real big. As a rule, for Christmas Eve dinner, I make either vegetable beef soup or beef chili. This year, we opted for the soup. I done good; it was much better than being slapped in the belly with a wet trout.

I made several outings to the Greensboro watershed trails this week to set up a new night cache, which I submitted to yesterday. As with many of my caches, this one is inspired by dark literature, in this case The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers. A night cache is specifically set up to be hunted after dark, with trails of reflective fire tacks to lead cache hunters to their destination. I put in some serious time and energy setting this one up, so I hope it will work out as well as I believe it will. Ought to be fun for the local geocaching contingent, I do believe. The cache is called "Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?"
Sunset from the Laurel Bluff Trail, overlooking the Lake of Hali... er, uh... Lake Townsend
For the past few years, our Christmas movie repertoire has steadily grown. For some time, we satisfied ourselves watching Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! and A Christmas Story. A while back, we added National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. A year or so ago, we added Die Hard. This year, we also watched Die Hard 2 and Die Hard with a Vengeance, not that these were actually Christmas movies; we just kinda felt like watching them. Die Hard with a Vengeance turned out to be particularly fun, thanks mostly to Samuel L. Jackson. We also fit in Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which was one of my staples when I was a little kid. I don't know that it's going to become a staple in the adult years.

This morning, I cooked slapjacks for our breakfast. Then we opened presents. There were many good ones, for Ms. B. does tend to spoil me. The highlight for me, perhaps, was an S. H. Monster Arts Godzilla figure (from 1989's Godzilla vs. Biollante). Unfortunately, one of her gifts has not arrived. I just hope there's no problem with it at the source or with shipping. But all in all, we both made out rather splendidly. For our big dinner, I made Chicken Marsala, as I have on at least a previous Christmas or two. Happily, I didn't fuck it up.

After things settled, I set out for the trails again, this time to see if I might recover some very old cache containers from a long-archived cache I had adopted many years ago (see "Darkness Falls Restored," February 24 2014). I found one of the containers; the other, I did not. Then, I set out for Martinsville, figuring I'd put in a little holiday time (and some geocaching) at the old homestead. Just before I left Greensboro, I received notification of a new cache up at Fairy Stone Park, a few miles out of Martinsville. I knew it would be after dark before I could get to it, but the mood was upon me, and I figured I might be able to snag first-to-find if I didn't dilly-dally. Well, I didn't dilly-dally, and I did get first to find. I tell you — as I mentioned way up yonder in this blog — it was one dark night out there. The sun had been down for a little while before I arrived at the trail, so it's a good thing I had a very bright flashlight with me. It wasn't a long hike — maybe a half-mile round trip. But it was dark. Very, very dark. Even once I arrived back in Martinsville, it was very dark. Still is.

One dark Christmas night.

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope yours was as satisfying as mine. If you don't, then I don't reckon it was. But whatever, I hope your day didn't involve any wet trout and belly-slapping.

Au revoir.
No, there are NOT any toasted folks here. Not yet, anyway.

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