The last few days have seemed like a winter prelude. A cold chilling rain has fallen for the last few days-today, all the day long. Lamps burn in odd day time hours and “winter clothes” have been retrieved from closets. It is the time to build a fire-and tend it for long periods of time. The trees are all but bare and look black in the dim light of day. The landscape has changed and no longer bids us to spend the afternoon outside, but for a winter walk. Now, more than ever home and hearth seem to mean more, than they do in months like June.
Wednesday, was the annual, grand shopping spree for us. Mama. my sisters, my niece and I spent a day together , for Christmas. This was our seventeenth venture. It is the only day of the year, that I shop all day. I do not have the heart of a shopper. In fact, I am more inclined to make do with what I have and live as simply as I can. . . but it is Christmas, after all, and that changes everything. I do shop a bit all year long for the holiday and therefore avoid many worrisome details. My own children and I, also have always kept Christmas small and personal. Our gifts are things like bars of fancy soaps, fine coffees, books, art and writing supplies-and always guitar strings for Christian. When I go to Wilmington, I am always noting what is NOT in the kitchens, and ought to be. I take stock of linens and towels too, for my children will never ask for anything. They are a grateful lot and that for me means more than anything under the tree. We do indulge ourselves with lavish meals that take all day to cook and all sorts of holiday fare. In that way, we are extravagant.
Connie always drives Mama and I to the destination, that day. Connie is a much more capable driver, than me and she has the vehicles to support our purchases. We left not long after eight and met Delores, who drives from Raleigh, at a midway city. At the first store, I found exactly what I had wanted to get Tres . At another store, I found exactly what I had wanted for Will. Since, my family is loyal to the “Rabbit Patch Diary”, I can not go in to further detail, but “suffice it to say” I was quite satisfied at the end of the day.
Just before noon, that day ,we had been to several stores. My niece, Hayley and I had been hungry a good while, as we neither had the good sense to eat breakfast. When Connie called it “lunch time”, we did not complain. Lunch provided us all the fortitude we needed for the “second shift”. I must applaud Mama for her gallant effort. I knew her knees had to be bothering her, but she did not complain one iota. Delores, who could be a professional shopper, and I am quite serious -had discount cards for every store we went to, and allowed all of us to take advantage of that. Mama and Delores like to look at clothes, and did so wherever we landed. Connie and I like dishes, though I remained stalwart and did not bring another pretty dish back to the rabbit patch. (I have not yet forgotten the weeks of decluttering in July.) Hayley and I like books and art supplies. Hayley loves make up, too-I can barely apply cold cream. I bought chocolate as I always do, around mid afternoon. We pass it around and find the will to finish.
It had been dark a while, when we got home. Everybody has to call Mama when they walk in their back door, to let her know, we all arrived safely. I thought it must have been time to go to bed, but come to find out, it was just past six pm!
The “Christmas closet” in the farmhouse, holds more secrets now, than it did, before Wednesday. . .and I have another memory to add to my collection of things I want to remember . . .and it happened on Wednesday.