Naughty or Nice?

 

 

I’ve been mostly nice this year, though a fair amount of naughty was sprinkled about. If I’m honest, that’s probably how most years go. I’d like to do better, but I am what I am.

 

Because I believe and – in my heart – know, I won’t wait up for Santa tonight. I’ll just snuggle under the covers, grateful to have a warm bed and a roof over my head. I’ll probably count my blessings before drifting off. Knowing me, my belly will be full and I’ll wear a smile there in the darkness. I like to think those little parts of my personality put me on the Nice List. And that Santa sees it.

 

Let me be clear about something here: I believe in Santa Claus. Maybe not in the way a child believes, but I believe just the same. It took me many adult years to get here. As a kid, I was a Santa junkie, like all the other children I knew. Then, when I was only 6 or 7, my uncle Scottie told me the most horrible story imaginable: Santa was fake. He told me how our parents get all the presents, then hide them before putting them beneath the Christmas tree each year. He even took me up into the attic of his house, to show me where all his gifts were stashed. As uncle Scottie was a couple of years older than I, he was an authority. And I believed him. Kid Christmas would never be the same.

 

I was devastated, but I kept it to myself. I had 2 younger sisters and I didn’t want them to find out about Santa. I didn’t want them to feel the heartbreak I was enduring. By the time they no longer believed in Santa, years had passed.

 

I never told on Scottie for enlightening me about Santa Claus. And to this day, I don’t blame him. He was a kid himself. Like me, he didn’t know any better. We just wanted to grow up. We thought we had to put aside childish things in order to make that happen. We thought a concrete understanding of life would bring maturity. We had no idea what we’d lose in letting go of our magical beliefs.

 

I am mostly grown now. I watch the children of friends as they marvel at December’s promise. I hear strangers admonishing their children out in the world, “You’d better be good or Santa won’t come to our house!” And I smile at all of it. For I believe in Santa Claus, too. And I believe in Magic. I believe – period. As an adult, I have regained the beauty and possibility of a child’s faith. And if that’s not Magic, I don’t know what is.

 

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 3

 

 

This week’s Drunk Dial Think Tank creation (explained here) was food. I love food! I mean – I really, really, really love food!

 

Anyhoo, Mister and I wanted to see if we could create his Grandma Sophie’s Polish sausage. She passed away years ago, but the recipe was preserved by her sister, Esther. Esther died last year. She lived to a ripe, old age and had a full life. Her cholesterol level was in the 400+ range, but a little Polish sausage here and there didn’t hurt (as that wasn’t what took her to the sweet beyond). It’s funny, the recipe we have still has her name and number on it. I may share the recipe at some point, but for now it’s still a private family thing.

 

As Santa brought me sausage attachments for my stand mixer – the very gifts I’d requested (thanks a butt-load, Santa!) – we had all the tools we needed.

 

So we gathered our ingredients. Because I’m a food dork, I knew to drive straight to a particular Italian deli for the hog casings. Once I had those in hand, the few other needed ingredients were a snap to assemble. I headed home and Mister and I started grinding the pig meat. It wasn’t a hard process or anything. In fact, soaking the casings took longer than any other step. And with 2 of us making the sausage, it was fairly easy. Once the links were made, we let them “cure” for 2 days before cooking.

 

Mister’s father’s family ate Polish sausage thusly: they boiled it for about a half hour, then they cut it in pieces and finished cooking it in the oven, and finally they served the cooked pieces with ketchup. Say what you will, but believe me when I tell you that their family tradition is a good one, y’all.

 

So this week’s creation was food. Good food. Food with history. As we were stuffing the sausage and making all kinds of dirty jokes (as well as a few “The Wall” references), it occurred to me that Mister’s Grandma Sophie and Auntie Esther probably got together back in the day, for their sausage-making sessions. Probably made the work a bit easier, being shared and all. I couldn’t help but think one or both of those good Catholic gals made their own dirty jokes somewhere along the line. I like to think so anyway.

Waiting for Santa

 

 

This photo is from a few years ago. Tommy Boy was only a toddler. As we’ve not seen him for quite a while, I imagine he’s grown into a confident, big boy.

 

For that’s what kids do – they grow. There will come a time when Tommy Boy finds no reason to look out his front window. There will be nothing there he’ll want to see. We can’t judge him for it, because we stopped looking out our own front windows, too. We grew up and didn’t want to spend any time looking for something we couldn’t name. And really, what is there outside front windows? A bunch of nothing, really. Lovely, watching-the-grass-grow, unhurried nothing.

 

Maybe tonight – no matter how confident and big-boy or big-girl we may be – we can take a few moments to sit quietly and look out our front windows. If anyone asks what we’re doing, we can say we’re waiting for Santa. And maybe that’s exactly what we will be doing.

 

Merry Christmas.