December 25 – Christmas

Posted on: December 26, 2012

I stretched under the covers and bumped into something.  Startled, I froze, then remembered John was with me now.  I turned slowly to see his blue eyes opened and amused.

“Merry Christmas,” and he kissed me lightly.  I smiled, and kissed him back.  “Easy, Deb,” he pulled away, “this is too tempting and I want our first time together when we’re completely alone.”  Then I remembered: last night we slept, just slept.  I sighed, but agreed, and slipped out of bed.

We woke to a fresh blanket of snow on the ground.  The house was quiet and not as cold as I thought it would be.  Jason apparently had gotten up during the night and put more wood in the stove.

It was Christmas morning, and I was disappointed I didn’t have gifts for everyone; no tree, no colored lights, but I could give them my love and right now I think that mattered more than presents.


I started a fresh pot of coffee, for which Angela was very grateful.  It might not have been up to her Starbucks standard, but it was more than she had had for a couple of weeks, and she sipped it with pleasure.

Jason noticed I was limping and using a cane and wanted to know what happened.  When I told him I slipped on the steps bringing in wood, he glowered at John and John bristled at the unspoken accusation.  Oh, oh.  A protective son.  I assured him it happened before John arrived, and that he was making sure I stayed off of it as much as possible; to reinforce my support, I slipped my arm thru John’s and  I could feel him relax.  I sure don’t need Jason and John being at odds with each other!  They are both so important in my life now.


Jason retrieved the ham from the barn while John relit the stove.  I convinced John to let Jason bring in wood, as I needed him to help me in the back.  He reluctantly gave up that one duty, ‘just for today’, he grumped.

I’ve been reminded often enough to use the cane that my ankle was feeling much better, as I made my way to the back of the house, John following close behind.  In the back pantry, I loaded a wicker basket with jars of green and wax beans, cans of mushrooms and mushroom soup; there were more peas for the rice pilaf, and a bowl for the Basmati rice that I had dipped from the 5 gallon bucket.

I lined everything up on the kitchen counter, pulling herbs from the cupboards to go with a dish; salt and pepper grinders on my work table.  John brought me one of the pumpkins from the cold pantry, and was delighted when I asked him to cut it and clean in out; I needed it as a bowl, and he cut it a third of the way down.  Perfect, and I told him so.  He just beamed.  Meanwhile I got the bread rolls on their first rise.

My thoughts kept slipping into town; I haven’t been to the office in days, not since John arrived.  I’m sure things were going fine, and if not, there was nothing I could do anyway.

The pumpkin needed to be baked first, so we turned it upside down on a foil covered platter, with the top next to it, to bake also.  The pumpkin seeds and fibers went in a bowl for the chickens; nothing could be wasted.  I was going to ask Angela to do the bean casserole, but she was playing with Jacob and that kept them both busy.  John cored the apples, set them in a baking dish and sprinkled them with just a touch of sugar.  To me, they are already sweet enough, but he is so happy helping in the kitchen I didn’t say anything.

I assembled the casserole and covered it.  The ham was pre-cooked and didn’t even need warming, so I set it in a wide, shallow bowl and covered it with a towel; towels can be washed, I don’t know when I will be able to replace foil.  I’ll have to keep that in mind: no more random usage of paper products.

It was 2:00pm and the rolls were just going into the oven, when I heard another vehicle.  Bob and Kathy were here!

After introductions all around, I brought out a tray of deviled eggs that I had kept secret from everyone.  I think I’m one of the few who have fresh eggs, and I’m ever thankful for being so remote no one hears the rooster, though I have considered keeping the chickens locked up and muffled.  Deviled eggs, cheese and crackers, plus some of the venison summer sausage Jason and I made last fall.  That seems like such a long time ago, back when things were normal.

Bob was so happy with the little appetizer spread that he insisted on opening one of the six bottles of wine they had brought.  Kathy was impressed yet baffled with how fresh the crackers were.  I explained how I had canned a few boxes as an experiment; I didn’t have many, but this was a good occasion to have some.

Bob’s favorite meal is all appetizers.  He had a big satisfied grin, and said, “This is great! Will you marry me?”

John immediate tightened his arm around my shoulders possessively and retorted, “She’s taken.  She’s mine, and you can’t have her,” then he grinned and Bob laughed.  Whew!

A few minutes later Jacob came into the kitchen and asked to watch a movie.  Jason started to explain that he couldn’t, but I stopped him.

“This is a special day for all of us.  John will you start the generator? I’d like to run it for a few hours.  Jacob can watch anything he wants; we can have lights and running water and I can use the other stove to help re-warm things for dinner.”  I was just beaming; it was Christmas Day, I had my friends and my family here, and I had John.  We had plenty of food for everyone here and I was determined we would all have a good time.


With everything heated at the same time, dinner went smoothly, the wine flowed freely and the conversation was lively.  Kathy told of how quiet Moose Creek was at night, except for last night.  Living right in the heart of town, they heard everything.  Bob chimed in, “I think Beamer was holding a private party at The Jack; he must have found a case of booze hidden somewhere.”  Not many people in Moose Creek like Beamer, the owner of the only bar in town, The Jack of Spades, but it is the only bar, so he is at best, tolerated; tolerated, but still a creep.

After dinner, Kathy helped me divide up the leftover ham three ways, but I insisted her and Jason split the rice pilaf and the rolls.  I could always make more. I put the ham bone in the fridge for making soup later.  I asked Bob if he would like an after-dinner scotch. His eyes lit up and so did John’s.  I didn’t know John was a scotch drinker! I would have offered him some sooner; those touches of normal habits are what I’ve prepped for.  Jason got the bag of ice cubes off the deck for them, and Kathy, Bob and John bonded over Famous Grouse on the rocks, while I sipped a shot of peppermint schnapps.


It was a sad good bye seeing my friends leave, but I knew I would see them again.  Jason asked to stay one more night.

With the generator still running I did the dishes instead of waiting for morning.  Then I found out why Jason wanted to stay one more night: they all needed showers!  My gas water heater stayed hot on a minimal amount of propane, which still flowed without power, where his electric water heater, didn’t work at all.

While Angela was taking her shower, Jason came to me for a favor.

“Mom, can I have five gallons of gas before we leave in the morning?  Angela barely got back home and I had to siphon some from my truck to get us here.” Jason knew I had a drum of gas in storage.

“Of course.  Do you want a couple more cases of noodles for Jacob, too?” I would do anything for my son, and he knew it.

“Thank you,” he hugged me tight.  “Just one case.”  Only one? I had a feeling he would be back here sooner than either of us expected.

2 thoughts on “December 25 – Christmas

  1. I really enjoyed your family and friends Christmas celebration. And things are certainly getting interesting with John!
    There is a hint now of harder times to come in many of your entries.
    In real life, this spurs me on towards being better organized, and in charge of my preps rather than being overwhelmed by them!

  2. One of the things that is so well done in the Journal is that you have illustrated that even in a prepper family like your own, with a son who knows about prepping, that other family members can and do act as barriers. This can not only not improve in emergencies, but can worsen. We all have family members who would not prepare prior to emergencies, and they will all need us, when emergencies occur.

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