I was reading through my emails and Google Reader feeds today when I came across Jim Casada’s December Newsletter. As I was reading his list of childhood Christmas Memories I found myself nodding on more than one occasion as my own memories mached up with Jim’s.
Here are a few that I particularly liked…
The Christmas Day feast at the home of my grandparents. It was a meal rivaled only by the spread at Thanksgiving.
Grandpa Joe “sassering” a cup of Russian tea and smacking his lips as he drank liquid hot enough to scorch most lips.
The concluding words of every blessing I ever heard Grandpa deliver as we were preparing to eat: “You’uns see what’s before you. Eat hearty.”
I think it was the”sassering” that really hit a nerve though. I learned to drink coffee with my Grandma and Grandpa Sewell. And it was the saucering and blowing across the almost boiling coffee that still brings them back into the fore of my memories. Instant Folgers stirred into water so hot it foamed as it swirled around the cup…poured from the cup into the saucer before being cooled by blowing across the pool until you could sip it from the side of the saucer. Then repeat… Over and over until the cup was empty.
Twice a day every day. The ritual didn’t change other than the addition of whoever might be around at 10 and 2. Sometimes, the addition of cookies or cake would take the ritual to another level. But most days it was just coffee…”Sassered” and blowed.
Last year we started a new tradition around the Coffee Muses homestead when I had the photo at the top of the page printed and framed to remind us of the Christmas Miracle that happened in 2004 when we had the only Christmas eve and Christmas Snow ever recorded in this area. Now, every December as we decorate for Christmas the picture is moved over the mantle at the fireplace… Both as a reminder and a wish…
Here lately I’ve been taking my morning coffee out to the back porch of the new house most mornings. I noticed something this morning that had been kind of bothering me even as it hadn’t processed yet…The birds are not singing the sun up these days. Don’t get me wrong, you can hear some birds but it’s really quiet out these mornings. I imagine it’s as much a response to the heat and the drought as anything else because I don’t remember past years being this quiet.
I saw this report yesterday:
Texas’ Texas-sized drought and heat wave is setting new records, as August temperatures regularly topping 100° continue to impact most of the state. The high temperature hit 102° at the Houston Intercontinental Airport yesterday, a record for the date, and the 16th consecutive day of 100°+ heat. The 16-day streak is a new record. The previous record was 14 straight days, ending on July 19, 1980.
Let me tell you it feels hot…Even sitting out with one cup of morning coffee leaves you damp when you are done…Two cups and you are dripping. It almost is enough to make a coffee lover switch to the South’s favorite refreshment Sweet Iced Tea. It wasn’t all that many years ago that we always had a pitcher of tea on the counter ready to refill a glass. I guess I need to revisit the decision that put a stop to that practice…Especially if these long hot summers we have been having are here to stay a while.
I also noticed that just to get back to a equilibrium on soil moisture, most of Texas needs more than 16″ of rain to fall…Hopefully, not all at once. It is so dry around here the the honeybees are lining up at the water pans I keep filled for pets and birds. All day long there will be upwards of 40-50 bees around the rim of the pan sipping water. Even the hummingbirds are hitting the feeders more often than in the past…
Looking at the quote above brings back some not so fond memories. I spent that old record period stripping and sanding the exterior of our first house and then repainting it. Two weeks of hell…Wearing almost no clothing and a respirator to make sure I wasn’t breathing in any lead based paint. Then it was a gallon bucket and a 6″ brush for another week or two to finish the job. You really have to wonder about Texans and there staying power in our summer heat.
Time to close this as I see the insulation crew is here to finish blowing in the almost six inches of wall insulation I can look forward to enjoying next summer…
I have fallen into the habit of grabbing my morning coffee and heading outside to sit and enjoy the mornings. It’s a big difference from the way I used to start my mornings…Online and checking in on my virtual world.
Sitting out has made me more contemplative, I almost said meditative but that doesn’t really fit since I don’t try to claer my mind so much as just let it run and follow along as I can. Spending a couple of hours first thing in the morning out in nature as I drink a cup or three has made a change in the rest of my day as well. Let me put it this way…I don’t ever seem to get caught up on my normal day of podcasts any more. I can’t say that is a totally bad thing either.
Today I found myself musing about the breeze that was blowing. What caught my contemplative nature was the way the winds currents seemed to eddy and roll as they made their way across my immediate landscape. I was wondering what was causing the the breeze to move the trees over there while there wasn’t a hint of a breeze where I was and then a moment later it would be just the reverse. What is it that causes the wind to blow in such a variable way?
Believe it or not, all of those breezy thoughts took up almost an hour of my morning coffee muses.
I have been spending some time dealing with the IRS these past weeks. I really have to love the way they have the system set up…They have your money, you file your return, they sit on it for 21 days, they send you a letter telling you they are reviewing your return and to contact them in 45 days if you haven’t heard from them…45 days later you call and they tell you they will file a claim and if you don’t hear anything in 30 days…Well you just call back. What a system. And the real kicker in the whole thing is the amount of time you end up on hold listening to the really crappy melody they play as you wait…And God help you if you get cut off for any reason because you go back to the back of the line…And all I want is my refund. Do you think they would react as well if I did the same to them?