It’s Monday afternoon as I write this, and the snow has stopped, but not the wind. Mike is busy with the snowblower, which threw off its snow stack to begin with, but he seems to have fixed it and is fighting the wind as he clears the driveway and walks. It looks like about a foot of new snow, but it’s hard to tell because of all the drifting. In any case, it should be enough to get the cross-country establishments started, and it’s really good news for Black Mountain, which will host the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Cross-Country Ski Championships next week, Jan. 2-8.
We’re looking forward to seeing our granddaughter, Molly Siegel, participating in the events, which will award berths on the U.S. Olympic team, the World Cup, and world junior competitions in Europe. There will be 500 Nordic skiers competing! Needless to say, this is a coup for the Chisholm Ski Club which will host both in 2011 and 2012. Black Mountain does a great job with grooming and organization, and we wish them well.
On Christmas morning Mike and I brought Jake with us to the Crocker Pond Road, where we parked and hiked in to Broken Bridge Pond. We trekked across the ice to the far end, where there is a new dam. It was a little dicey getting off the lake at that end, because there was some open water near the dam, but we managed without getting wet feet. We completed a loop by using the new road that was built to accommodate the dam building, and then proceeded on back to the car. We saw lots of tracks everywhere — moose, deer, coyote, fox, partridge, bobcat, etc.
A bit of editorial comment here about the rebuilt road through the forest: It seems to me that the road is more dangerous now, rather than less, because of the severe slope of the shoulders. Sliding off the road onto one of those shoulders could result in some serious trouble. And we know from past experience that there are many drivers who speed rather recklessly along the forest road. In fact, we saw one place where someone had skidded into a ditch.
Christmas Eve was spent with our cousins, Eric and Lucia Schwarz, at their home. We enjoyed dinner and the company of their son, Peter, and his family, as well as our daughter, Martha Siegel, and her family. This gathering is one of our favorite extended family traditions.
On Christmas Day the Siegels and Hoehs piled into our Highlander, with the third seat in place and gifts stowed in every available space, and off we went to Chesterville, for dinner with oldest daughter, Cyndy Stancioff, and her family. Cyndy prepared sauerbraten, a nod to her Dad’s German background, and it was complete with potato pancakes (kartoffel pfankuchen), sweet and sour red cabbage (rotkraut), and apple sauce. My contribution was plum pudding, which we flambéed and carried to the table in a “blaze of glory.”
Before dinner we held our gift exchange, followed by a special treat when Paul, Cyndy, Elisabeth, Louisa, and Danish exchange student Renée serenaded us with a close-harmony version of “Like a Choir of Cherubim.” This was especially meaningful, because when our daughters were in their high school choir, their concerts always commenced with the choristers’ entering the auditorium from the rear, carrying lit candles, and singing this song -- one of our favorites. And now the grandchildren are a part of the tradition, too.
Coming up tomorrow night is a somewhat pared-down version of New Year’s Bethel at the Historical Society, but one that promises to be enjoyable nonetheless. There will be open house at the Moses Mason House Museum, a potluck supper, performances by the Senior Players, and a sing-a-long with Lynn Arizzi at the piano in the barn meeting room. Check this paper for times and particulars. I hope to see you there!
To one and all I send my wishes for a New Year that is healthy, happy, peaceful, and filled with love and good fortune. Bonne Année!