This year's neighborhood Christmas Party may have been the best ever.
(and I may say that every single year)
Donald and I moved here in 1996 which is, I think, the first year the parties started because many of us seemed to find our way to Meat Camp at about the same time.
We've had some new folks come since then, and we've had some folks leave.
And there are some years not everyone is able to make it.
Larry and Marie weren't able to be here this year.
Mike and Franza are back in Florida for the winter.
Bruce and Georgia were also missed this year.
The rest of us gathered, as we have for the past several years, at Judy and Fred's. Prior to Fred and Judy taking over Christmas Party duties, it was held in a house now empty that we referred to as the Meat Camp Community Center.
Back in those days the game consisted of gag gifts with a price limit of about $5.00.
Lordy, but are we happy to have moved away from the $5.00 gag gift days.
And here's where I want to say how very much I love Fred and Judy. They are two of the kindest, most giving people I've ever met.
And Fred is also one of the funniest people I've ever met.
And y'all know how much I love funny people.
Although a tight knit neighborhood group, we don't get together as a whole group too often.
And when we do we are genuinely happy to be together again.
Lots of smiles.
Lots of laughs.
There is a lot of good will and a lot of love shared.
We've been through a lot together - good times and bad. We've learned that we can count on one another when we need to reach out.
When better than Christmas to remember, hug and let friends and neighbors know just how much they mean to you.
And, oh yes - we eat.
We eat quite well.
We might have a drink or two
and we take a few pictures
did I mention that we laugh ?
and maybe get a wee bit silly?
There are non-stop conversations - we are a talky group, for sure
AND, we play a Santa game.
I know you're all familiar with it.
Draw a number and as your turn comes up you can choose a gift from under the tree
if someone has a gift you really like, well, you can take their gift.
Since our neighborhood is home to a lot of talented people, you can guess there are a lot of wonderful gifts.
Someone made the comment last night that we had enough nice handmade items under that tree to open our own gallery.
Suffice to say, we've learned not to fall in love with the first gift we get 'cause chances are we're not going to end up with it.
Although, some strange things happen along the way.
We have several artists and artisans and craftsmen. Artists in watercolor, oils, acrylics, collage artists, potters, sculptors, knitters, basket weavers, woodworkers, photographers, writers, stained glass artists, seamstresses, leather workers, weavers, blacksmiths. And, what's remarkable to me, is that many have developed new interests and are honing new talents from year to year.
Now, I want you to keep an eye on this painting.
It's one by our own Jill Smith (who is also, I'm proud to say, the artist of the cover of my "Whimsey"). Jill doesn't have one of her paintings in the Santa drawing every year, but when she does it is what's probably known as a "hot ticket" item.
I have long lusted over one of Jill's paintings - as has everyone else on who hasn't been lucky enough to go home with one over the years.
Ingrid is looking pretty happy here isn't she? Well, I guess! It's a Jill Smith original.
And this is one of Danny's wonderful pieces
Here's our Danny with the long hair and beard. Mountain man or hippie? You decide. Renaissance Man, truth be told. Alongside him is his much adored Lady Mary Anne
Well, gee. Ingrid lost her painting (to me!).
But. She now has one of Jill's sculptures, so not too upset by any means.
Judy has pottery "sipping glasses" made by our Keith.
Well, well, well. I lost Jill's painting to Jeff. harumph.
Judy lost her sipping glasses, but ended up with a photograph taken by me.
Lookie here! Jeff lost Jill's painting to Donald!
But ended up with this absolutely unbelievably beautiful chopping block that no one would ever chop on. It's a piece of art, I think, meant to be looked at and touched. Touched often - it's smooth as silk. I don't remember the exotic woods Paul used to make this, but it is exquisite. (Jeff didn't keep this for long either, bless his heart).
Jill had the best time going through this basket full of goodies - many of which were homemade by our Ingrid. (um, Jill didn't get to keep it though, sadly).
Look what I have! One of Keith & Willies pieces of pottery. It is SCRUMPTIOUS! (Did I come home with it? Well. No)
Donald had this (for awhile). And I could not stop caressing it.
Dean's holding a chopping block made by Fred (he didn't get to hold it for long).
Oops. Donald lost his gorgeous piece of wood and is now, I think, praying over unwrapped gifts under the tree (or maybe he's just got the giggles).
I'm not sure what Melba got (but I'm guessing she didn't get to keep it anyway).
Paul playing dress-up in a hand knitted scarf by Ingrid (I think Jeff's coveting it).
Well, well, well.
GUESS WHO ENDED UP WITH JILLS PAINTING!?!
This piece is especially meaningful since it's a scene here in our neighborhood.
Isn't it wonderful?
And after the gifts have been opened, loved, lost, returned, and lost again - we're back to eating, laughing, and socializing.
Donald gets to meet and play with May. WHAT a sweetie she is!
And I wasn't the only gal there sporting cowboy boots. Loving Ingrid's boots!
|me, Willie, Mary Anne and Jill|
A couple more piece of Jill's work
And a good time was had by all