Notes from Squirrels' Leap

Contemplating contemplation

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After-Christmas quietness …

It’s the morning after Christmas, and I’m still in my cozy pink robe, snuggled down in my upstairs corner chair, surrounded by books and yarn, thinking back over our happy Christmas here at Squirrels’ Leap.

I was a little afraid it was going to be a kind of blue Christmas this year, since my sons Jamie and Alex were both going to be in Boulder, and because we decided not to make the long drive to Sarasota to see our DeWoody kids and my Taylor kin there after Christmas. But it’s turned out to be a happy and sweet Christmas after all.

What a wonderful gift it’s been for me to have three whole weeks off to enjoy the holidays! I was finished with my first semester at North Arkansas College on Monday, Dec. 12, and have enjoyed having these unstructured days to write, to read, to knit, to cook, to Christmas shop, to walk, and to just enjoy Christmastime.

Doyle, who teaches science at Lead Hill High School, finished up his semester last week, so we are enjoying having these days off together.

Even though our children were all far away, our Christmas was made richer by a special visit from Doyle’s sister Linda and her family, who drove all the way up from Dallas the Friday before Christmas to see us all. D’s mama, Ruby, who is 87, lives with us, and was overjoyed to have both of her children and two of her four grandchildren close by around the Christmas tree.The Davises only stayed one night, leaving around noon on Christmas Eve, but their visit made us all happy.

Some of my favorite Christmas moments, that will live as snapshots in my memory:

Ruby laughing on the couch next to her daughter Linda as they opened gifts together …

Sitting next to my husband at the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass at Mary Mother of God, listening to the sweet voices of the youth choir singing the old, old carols …

Exchanging “Merry Christmas” messages with dear friends via cards, Facebook, and texts on Christmas Eve …

Opening carefully-chosen gifts around our tree on Christmas morning with my husband and mother-in-law, books and pretty clothes and long-wished for toys ….

Talking to our far-flung children on the phone, hearing about the Florida children’s Santy Claus and my boys’ good visiting time in snowy Colorado …

Seeing photos of our littlest ones on the phone, my nephew Ben delighting in his “African Cats” books we sent him, and little Parker DeWoody, age 2, posing with his Razorbacks football down in sunny Florida…

Although it was just the three of us here at Squirrels’ Leap, our house twinkled with Christmas lights and with love. We’re looking forward to visits in the next week with cousins and dear friends, and to enjoying our time together.

A smile for you!

Flowers along the pathway to the driveway make me smile ...

Keeping in touch

Hey, friends,

This is the first Tuesday in more than five years that I haven’t been writing a newspaper column, so it seemed to be a good time to start a new blog that I hope will serve as a new venue for my thoughts and words, and as a way for me to keep in touch with those of you who have been such faithful readers of my column and who have become friends.

I have a column percolating on the back burner of my mind, one that I want to sit down and write very soon … a column about a beloved Mississippi homeplace that was very important in my life and in the lives of my children and their family.

Hello world!