Yesterday, the rains lashed and lashed, clearing the driveway—a good thing—and melting most of the snow—not such a good thing as my perennial gardens are now exposed. If we have a cold snap, the plants will be in serious trouble. In Maine, rain in the winter is most unwelcome.
Still, I had such a wonderful, wonderful week that the rainy weather could not dim my pleasure.
First, our friends Gayle and Bob invited us over to view their collection of Santas, a truly impressive sight. This picture shows just a sample of the many, many Santas decorating their house.
After viewing the Santas, there were cookies, eggnog, and tea.
And finally a gift, a new Santa ornament to hang on my tree. This one is very special as it features a dog—reminding me of our beloved Liam, who passed in May. Also Santa’s hat makes him look like a real Mainer. I have a jacket with that very same pattern. Gayle and Bob, many, many thanks for an utterly delightful afternoon, for the cookies, and for the special ornament.
A day or two latter, a little package from Ireland came in the mail. My blogging friend Shari sent me these two lovely handmade ornaments, and how pretty they are on our tree. Thanks so much, Shari!
As if all that weren’t enough, Clif and I had the most extraordinary experience on Thursday at one of our favorite places to eat, the Red Barn, a modest restaurant that serves delectable seafood.
While we were eating, a woman who works at the Red Barn brought out a huge cake and carried it to a small woman in a bright red sweater. The woman called out, “Happy 100th birthday, Josephine.”
Everybody clapped, and everybody sang “Happy Birthday” to Josephine, which, by the way, was my grandmother’s name. As I clapped and sang, there were tears in my eyes. (Later, on the Red Barn’s Facebook page, I would learn that Josephine is called Mémère, French Canadian for grandmother, and Mémère is what I called all my grandmothers.)
Here is a picture of the oh-so-lovely Josephine.
Then, everyone at the Red Barn received a piece of the birthday cake as well.
Naturally, I had to go over to wish Josephine a happy birthday.
“So generous to bring a cake and give everyone a piece,” I said to the man and woman who were with her, and by that time I was so overcome with emotion that I didn’t even ask how they were connected to her.
“That’s the way she is,” the woman said. “Always so generous.”
I turned to Josephine and said, “Happy birthday.”
Josephine smiled at me, took my hand in her own warm one, and squeezed it firmly and affectionately. It is not every day that a 100-year-old woman squeezes your hand, and it felt like a blessing of sorts, a benediction.
I made my way back to the table, grabbed a napkin, wiped my eyes, and blew my nose.
That benediction stayed with me the rest of the day while we finished our errands. It is with me now, and it is something I will always remember.
A timely reminder that gifts can come in the most homely, unexpected places and that chance is often involved. Forty minutes either way, and we would have missed Josephine’s celebration.
And, so dear readers, with this I close the year. I will be taking a break from blogging until the beginning of January.
Whatever your beliefs, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate, I wish you many blessings in the upcoming year.