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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Christmas Holidays for the Everharts - Together

Liz is a city planner - but everyone got into planning
Plasticville Tamaqua 
Hot dogs and a camp fire - nothing better on the mild
December night
Down on the farm - Green Acres is the place for me

I have had a writer's block trying to figure out how to describe Christmas 2016. When you are old and senile - the last one is always the best one. I am afraid if I put my feelings about this Christmas down on paper - it will somehow evaporate. It was just oh so good. 

For the first time - the Everhart 9 - got to all meet and celebrate on Christmas Day. Of course - since Max (Number 9) is only 6 months old - it was his very first Christmas. And he did not disappoint. 

Lulu loves Christmas. She loves to buy presents and decorate. She loves to cook for everyone. These are the same things her Mom and Grandmothers did. Lulu's tree is laden with ornaments that she has collected through the years on her travels. One day - I am going to do a story with pictures of each ornament - an OCD guys dream :-)  We have a 9 foot tree that we can take up the attic and store standing up - without decorations of course. 

My favorite and coolest present of all - will be a separate story. It is the best present I ever got. I cried and cried over it. Watch for that. Another neat present - going along on the OCD motif - is my energy monitor. Liz and Keith got "us" a device that you put in your circuit box. It constantly monitors your electricity use - and sends the data to your iPhone. I loved watching the power consumption go down when turning off appliances. It drives Lulu wacky.

I build a train platform. When I told the kids about it - they asked if I would not do the train layout or village until they got here Christmas Day. What more could a grandpa ask for - having all the kids and grandkids enjoy a tradition my Dad started when I was born in 1948. I even have some original plastic houses that are 68 years old. 

We had 6 full days together - traveling around in the van - visiting the Tallahassee Museum - eating at Sonny's - baking cookies with Mum Mum - emptying stockings - playing with trains and slot cars - going to FSU games - kids doing the zip lines - adults out alone - meals together - playing in the yard -  having a hot dog roast - and picking everyone up at the airport in the van. It all just buzzed by.

We just loved being all together. You hate when they must all pack up and go home - back to work - back to school - back to up North - back to the routines.

Although one feels that the problems we have are singular to us - millions of Americans have the same problems. When we were kids - everyone lived and worked close by. When I was a kid - my grandmother was down the street - and she cooked a hot meal for me for 12 years when I came home  from school for lunch. My one sister was just across town my whole adult life. My other sister was about 90 miles away. Lulu's grandparents lived behind her childhood home. Her cousins were all within an hour. 

We moved to Florida 13 years ago when FSU recruited Lulu to be a professor. The kids went to college at Duke and Georgetown - got jobs and families and stayed away. They now own homes in Richmond and Washington DC. It is much easier for us to go see them than for them to all fly down on holidays breaks. I feel guilty for whining about stuff like that - but we all have our problems. The minute you solve one - another one crops up. When Lulu eventually retires - we will have some big decisions to make. 

We were honored they all chose to give us so much time this Christmas.

You think of your family and friends that passed on during this season. Although you know it is the most natural of all things - you miss them - but Christmas trains - trees - decorations - remind you of everything they did. It was such good feeling - seeing my sons as such good parents. I like to think they learned by example from us - but they probably learned in spite of us. They are two really good men - who hit the jackpot when it came to getting the best wives - Robin and Liz. 

We loved sharing a little Christmas cheer with Cousin Georgeann and husband Jim - and best buddies Dick and Jan Davis. Even though it was only video chats with Dick - he can light up a room from 3000 miles away with his smile and silly quips. Both Dick and Georgeann are facing tough battles right now - and if you pray - these guys are on the top of the list. 

Like I said - I am luckier than I deserve. My friends and family made me laugh and cry over the holidays. All we have is the future. We want to make it as good as we can. We do not wish for much. We want for nothing material. We are lucky. 

Lulu's travel tree
Lulu's tree and my train yard. I build three 4x5 platforms.
We only used two this year. I made them that size
so they could go up the attic steps.
This mysterious Christmas train arrived full of goodies -
we found out later Sandi Jimmerson sent it.
The Everhart 9 stockings were filled by Santa.
Lulu made lots of cookies
Christmas morning - our presents before the kids

Ehen the kids arrived - more presents to open
The youngest - Number 9 - played the game
Lulu and I both worked for Heislers Dairy
Everybody got some great gifts. I will
have a separate story about my best gift ever. 
Lots of playing on the floor 
Lulu passes on her family musical skills

Neighbor Joel with our new one

Two American Girls in the tree
4 Everhart Girls have green martinis

Neighbor George sets up the slots cars every year
Racing against Uncle Keith

This was our English Christmas Breakfast
Assembling some of the 68 year old houses 
How many times have these houses been
built and torn down? 
80 degrees on the front porch -
picking camellias and azaleas

Way down upon the Suwanee River
Head librarian in charge reads to her grandson 
Zip lines and tree top hikes

Courage building
The Everharts from Richmond
Mum Mum makes the pancakes
Picking lemons - oranges - tangerines
Planting Mum Mum's kumquat tree
The first batch of cookies was one in 2 days -
so we made another batch

Jumparoo with Uncle Drew
Cutting out the sugar cookies

Let's add more sugar to the sugar cookies

The finished products
Checking out the ornaments - the youngest and the oldest
LED lights in all the houses. We never got a chance to put the streets.

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