Monday, January 2, 2012

Recapping A Little Bit Of Christmas 2011

Our Christmas tree is still up, and some of the Christmas crap we have acquired still isn't put away (by crap I don't mean presents, just the accompanying bags, packaging, etc), and we still have Christmas lights on our porch, but Christmas 2011 is now, for the most part, just a memory. And so I'll record just a little of it here, because otherwise there is a good chance I'll forget it.

Our Christmas holiday more or less began on Friday, December 23rd, the day we drove out to western Kansas to my mom's house. We made the obligatory stop at the Cozy Inn in downtown Salina to pick up a sack of cozy burgers. We ordered 18 burgers and every last one was eaten by the time we reached the wind farm that runs parallel to I-70 and begins about 30 miles west of Salina.

While we waited for the owner of the Cozy to coax our burgers towards grilled perfection, Roger bought me a Cozy Inn t-shirt as part of my Christmas present. Today I took it out of its plastic package, and I swear I'm not lying when I say the shirt --after all this time and distance away from its origins --smells like onions!

 Our drive to Salina had treated us to the charms of a progressively whitening landscape. The fields outside Kansas City were brown and dry, but as we continued west we saw little remnants of snow on the hills that eventually gave way to entire sheets of white. By the time we neared Salina most of the ground was covered.

When we drove through Hays we saw huge high piles of snow bulldozed along the edge of the Mall parking lot. In Ness City, where the streets are so mystically and unnecessarily wide that they perplex newcomers, the plowed snow is left right in the middle of the street, no bother to anyone.

One thing that struck me while I was out there, was how I had grown accostomed to municipalities that salt everything within an inch of its life, to keep ice from forming. In Ness City, the grocery store parking lot was a treacherous glacier, and similar ridges of slick ice and snow crust lay in wait all over town. While Roger and I were strolling to town, to browse the Flower Shop and the drug store, Roger suddenly slipped and fell, and not three seconds later---Whoosh! --I I felt my own feet sliding out from under me, and in an instant---Splat!--- I was down too. Fortunately, neither one of us was hurt. A day or so later, as me and Roger and Marc and Anne were exploring the west end of town, near the swimming pool, Anne took a nasty tumble.

I guess out there funds are tight and you're expected to not be a fool and go WALKING all over town like an idiot. Only people from out of town do that. I think Roger and I met a fellow out-of-towner on our way to the Flower Shop. We had stopped at the Prairie Mercantile just to see if it was open (it wasn't--after all, it was Christmas Eve day) when a man came striding in our direction and he remarked on how nothing much was open, as if the concept was still sinking in for him. Definitely not a local, I thought.

The Flower Shop and the drug store were both open, until noon. The drug store's handwritten sign was emphatic: Closing@Noon!  The Flower Shop isn't owned by Fitzgeralds anymore. I think a local woman who had been running her own flower business bought it, and she has re-stocked it with knick-knacks, stoneware, candles, jewelry, making it a fun place to browse again. Thank goodness! It had really grown empty the last few years that Fitzgeralds owned it, another sad example of my hometown's decline.

Before leaving the shop I bought a pretty blue bowl, which will be useful as a serving dish, or as a soup bowl, if I ever want to eat a LOT of soup. Roger bought a Thai-flavored vegetable dip.

After we left the Flower Shop, we went to the drug store, where we stood in a long line of people, all aware that the store was Closing@Noon!, and all trying to make last-minute purchases. We bought a couple of chocolate Santas and some bubblegum for the girls' stockings, and some gift cards for the people watching Cheri. Then it was back across the icy tundra of Ness City, to get warm and lazy at mom's house.


  1. thanks for this. got a little lump in my throat, wandering good ole ness city with you and roger.

  2. I'm guessing you left out that "falling on your ass" part?