It’s clear that singing “White Christmas” or “Let it Snow” do not work like the Western version of a snow dance, or we would have snow every holiday season.
But this year, I’m crediting the white stuff steadily falling outside the window as being due to the heartfelt singing of the holiday classics at the home of Carroll “Pete” and Maxine Peterson on Friday night.
According to my calculations, this was the 46th annual singing party, with a miss last year because “Dr. Pete” had just suffered a broken ankle. This year, he’s fighting cancer, but that was not going to put off the party another year.
Guests included family and friends, and there’s always a new face or two to add to the mix.
Amy Barrett, best known as the music director of the Durango Narrow Gauge Barbershop Chorus and Durango Children’s Chorale, ably served as accompanist for the group, making those of us who are not barbershoppers sound much better than we are. Her husband, Kermitt, had his hands full riding herd on their three children, Breeanna, 7, Brigham, 5, and Bryson. Bryson, at 7 months, was the easiest to corral as he’s “thiiis” close to crawling. Babies are so much easier to keep track of when they’re not mobile.
Bryson is clearly the right baby for the right family, as he was happy all evening long as the group harmonized. He also greatly enjoyed being the focus of more than one camera lens.
Maxine Peterson does some serious cooking for this event, including baking a number of breads. Offered on the smörgåsbord – when you marry into a Swedish family, it’s a requirement – were apricot, multigrain and my favorite Swedish limpa breads, along with cold cuts, cheeses, fruits, and meatballs. During “intermission,” singers could choose from several desserts, including bundt cake, pie and Christmas cookies galore.
The Petersons have lovingly restored their East Third Avenue Victorian home, and Barrett played the piano in the music room while some of us relaxed in the parlor on the fainting couch, although thankfully no one needed it for its named purpose.
In addition to traditional caroling favorites, we gave some rounds, “The Friendly Beasts” and “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” a shot. It’s always good to get the toes tapping to “Christmas in Killarney, with all of the folks at home.”
And of course, the final song, with only the Christmas lights twinkling, was “Silent Night,” a quiet farewell as guests headed out into the dark December night full of good cheer.
Enjoying eggnog and Yule logs for their holiday-season birthdays are Eric Speck, Amos Cordova, Reg Graham, Gary Wessman, Jim Marentette, Lynne Mueller, Carol Connelly, Jeff Branson, Alice Spitzer, Marj Martinson, Ginna Harbison, Nathaniel Ellis, Michael Ellis, Mike Somrak, T.J. Trump, Laurie Barker, Madison Whitney Hening, Susan Marwin, Carole Halverstadt, Sandy Halseth, Bruce Carman, Nicolina Lasher, Carol Lyman, Gwen Cook, Desmond Bogle, Wendy Krull, Robert Kunkel, Mary Sieger, Bill Thurman, Ava Hobby, Maria Meyer, Karolann Latimer, Shonda Atwater and Gordon Cheesewright.
The holidays mean it’s time for organizations to hold their parties. On Dec. 8, Tuesday Literary Club met at the home of Judy Wheeler in Shenandoah for their annual evening of laughs and fundraising.
This group always has so much fun together. I am getting a bad reputation for only showing up for parties – hey, I am the party queen, after all – and this is one I hate to miss. Some kindly soul sprang for a chauffered van to get guests out into the dark countryside. I had to use the flashlight on my cellphone a couple of times to read street signs, but Wheeler’s directions were impeccable for those of us who did our own navigating.
This is always one of the best potlucks of the year, and this was no exception. (My premise is that avid readers are inspired by savory concoctions in their reading and also read cookbooks.)
Because Tuesday Lit always likes to do some good with its partying, the group asked attendees to bring a gift to auction. There was a wide variety, from fresh olive oil, a P.E.O. poinsettia and jewelry to services: Video producer Christina Knickerbocker once again donated a family slideshow set to music, and Irina Hermesman, whom the club is trying to recruit to membership, is going to provide a lesson for Continental knitting. Apparently it requires one less movement, which over the course of thousands of stitching moves, can save a lot of time and energy. (She originally hails from Russia.)
The money raised will go to Manna Soup Kitchen’s Backpack Program. The program provides food for kids and their families who won’t have enough to eat on weekends and during school vacations, when school free-and reduced-lunches aren’t available. The vigorous auctioning, plus some outright donations, brought in a whopping $1,050 for the program.
Manna accepts food drop-offs for the Backpack Program between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily and uses nonperishables – canned tuna, boxed meals, peanut butter, breakfast cereal, packaged snakes, fruit cups and canned fruit and canned, ready-to-eat items such as Spaghetti-Os and ravioli.
And of course, a monetary donation to this or any of Manna’s other programs is a great way to end the year on a generous note.
This is a popular time of year for weddings, when the whole family will be together, so it’s also a big time for anniversaries. Here’s wishing these folks some time to celebrate in the midst of the festivities – Martin and Charlotte Pirnat, Dorman and Dottie McShan, Ryan and Krystal Phelps, Bob and Judy Yarout, Kimberly and Sean Darnall, Dick and Jane Pearson, Suzanne and James Sutherland, Jim and Barbara Edmanson, Dave and Lynn Mitzlaff, Peter and Judith Olson and John and Pat Mikelson.
Here’s wishing all my readers safe and happy holiday. Please take your time getting where you’re going, and remember that a little kindness at crowded airports goes a long way.
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