Monday, December 29, 2008

We were Blessed with Friends and Family

Well there are some Christmases that are just so much better than others and I am pleased to say this was one of those. For those of you who have been following us and our coffeehouse and personal adventures, you know that this year has been a very hard year for us. With all the trials we had just keeping the shop open and then the economy and Dan being without a job for over a year... We had our challenges. (I have included a copy of our Christmas letter for all of you who wish to get caught up on that). Anyway, this Christmas has had it's challenges too. We were really late getting out to do Christmas shopping, Dan was stranded in Wyoming, We had a foot of snow dumped on us and I could not get out of my driveway for several days... so we closed the shop down during the holiday season assuming everyone else was in the same boat we were.. Well... once you are faced with a lot of challenges you either fold or you accept them and work with and inspite of them.. I worked with them. I took the three days we had to close the shop and cleaned our home which needed to be cleaned badly! We lit candles, read and watched movies and in general Dan and I spent some badly needed time together just enjoying the snow and the season. Two days before Christmas we went shopping and what we didnt get then we did without! How wonderful to just be... to relax and to enjoy a white Christmas!!

We spent a lot of time shuffling between our kids and Mary and Randy's home and then on Boxing Day we opened the shop for our 30th Boxing Day dinner. The history of Boxing Day is as follows: Boxing Day takes its name from the ancient practice of opening boxes that contained money given to those who had given their service during the year. It was also the day when alms boxes, placed in churches on Christmas Day, were opened. The money was then given to the priest or used to help the poor and needy. Another name for Boxing Day used to be Offering Day.The earliest boxes of all were not box shaped, as you might imagine, nor were they made of wood. They were, in fact, earthenware containers with a slit in the top (rather like piggy banks.) These earthenware ‘boxes’ were used by the Romans for collecting money to help pay for the festivities at the winter Saturnalia celebrations.During the seventeenth century it became the custom for apprentices to ask their master’s customers for money at Christmas time. They collected this money in earthenware containers, which could be opened only by being smashed, and on Boxing Day the apprentices would eagerly have a ‘smashing time’, hence the expression, seeing how much they had collected. A later tradition, and the one which has survived to this day, was the distribution of Christmas ‘boxes’, gifts of money to people who had provided services throughout the year – the postman, the lamp-lighter, parish beadles, parish watchmen, dustmen and turn-cocks – which happened on the day after Christmas Day.

We had 42 people in attendance and I believe a good time was had by all! After dinner was finished some wonderful musician friends played and sang for us with some of us joining when we knew the songs. I had always wanted music after our dinner and this year for the first time we had a jam session and everyone enjoyed it! How wonderful it was to hear such great music and watch people revel in the fun!

This is also the first time that we had almost no leftovers! It was great! We had roast and scalloped potatoes, my turkey dressing, green beans, vegetarian lasagna, salad, and several desserts. There was plenty for everyone and when we all sat down to eat it was as usual the only time of the evening where we had quiet (for about 10 minutes!) Dan took pictures and I have included them in this post.

We missed a lot of you due to the weather and it is our hope that you had a good Christmas too. We also hope you will come see us and will be able to join us again next year on December 26th when we do this again. In the meantime... Very many Good Wishes go out to you my FRIENDS and ROCKHOPPER FAMILY and we hope that this next year will treat you well and give you many gifts of love, peace and friendship along the way!

Boxing Day Dinner at Rockhoppers on Whidbey Island.

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