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Constitutional

December 5, 2010

Snow was forecast for Friday night, and AJ ran to the window every ten minutes to see if it was snowing yet. It wasn’t. We checked the radar online. The pictures showed that we were right in the middle of what looked to be an enormous storm. But outside? Not one flake.

We went to bed.

In the morning, I opened the bedroom curtains and it was clear the storm had come. Everything — the grass, the trees, the rocks in the stream, the century-old barn up the hill, the fence posts and horses’ backs — was covered with white and it was still coming down. It snowed most of the day. AJ tromped around the yard for a while in the afternoon and Mr. Spy and I shoveled the driveway, but otherwise we spent most of the days indoors. AJ and I made our annual gingerbread house, which this year is not a house at all but a train. AJ worked on his school project and Mr. Spy and I puttered about with our various writing projects. Mr. Spy hung the Christmas greens and lights on the front porch while AJ and I decorated the wreath for the front door. And around dinner time, we all settled in to watch The Thin Man on TV.

Today is colder and sunnier. AJ and The Boy Across the Street hauled their sleds up the road to the sledding hill. We could hear the yelling from the front porch, although it was not nearly as noisy as yesterday, when AJ trudged down to the hill and came right back. “Don’t you want to go sledding?” I asked. “It’s nothing but GIRLS.” Ah, yes. Girls. Someday, AJ, you may view that as a good thing.

In the middle of the day, I walked AJ up to his school where they were lining up for the village’s annual Christmas parade. AJ was holding the banner for his Cub Scout pack. I stayed and chatted with some of the parents for a few minutes then cut down a side street to my favorite parade viewing point in front of the Senior Center. It was very cold and windy. All the babies had pink noses. The toddlers were bundled up in snowsuits that prevented their legs and arms from bending in the middle. And then with a colossal chorus of sirens — a police car, a fire engine and an ambulance lead off the parade each year making as much noise as possible — the parade began. AJ’s group was toward the end of the parade, after the Brownies dressed as gingerbread men and the Daisy scouts with handmade snowflake tiaras on their heads and carrying a sign that said “No two Daisy scouts are alike.” After the dance troupe of overweight women of a certain age dressed in skin-tight, crotch-short Santa dresses and fake fur legwarmers and the garbage truck with The Grinch strapped to the top. After the tournament winning middle school football team and two marching bands playing in several keys at once. After we were chilled to the bone. A Santa-hatted AJ was grinning ear to ear and yelling to his friends on the sidelines, who were easy to spot because the vast majority of people present were in the parade, not watching it. It’s my favorite community event of the year.

Several mugs of hot chocolate later, we are thawed out. I’m mixing up a shepherd’s pie for dinner. AJ and The Boy Across the Street are watching a Christmas special in the family room. Mr. Spy is hiding from the children working upstairs.

And that, my friends, is the State of the Union.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2010 10:20 pm

    I’d like to see a picture of your gingerbread train.

  2. December 5, 2010 10:24 pm

    I’ll post one eventually. It’s not quite finished yet. We need cover up the tray we built it on with something that doesn’t say “Made in China.”

  3. December 6, 2010 8:20 am

    Did you make the pattern for the train yourself? I’d swap for my haunted house pattern!

  4. December 6, 2010 8:33 am

    No, I’m not that organized. We bought a kit at T@rget. But it looks like it would be really easy to do yourself. There’s an engine and a caboose. The Caboose is just two rectangles and two squares put together in a box. We used starlight mints for wheels and filled the box of the Caboose with gumballs. the engine is a little more complicated. It uses the same rectangles as the sides of the caboose, but in an upright position for the cab and another rectangle for the roof. The back of the cab is shaped like a square with a semi-circle on top. The front of the cab and the nose of the train is a bunch of cookies shaped like the back of the cab, that you stick together in a tight row. There’s also a small piece like the bottom of a triangle that serves as a cow catcher. It also came with cookie wheels, although if you were making it yourself, it would be easy enough to use some other kind of cookie. And you could probably square off the train without any serious loss. The pieces with the semicircles on top came as one big piece (scored) with the rounded parts facing outwards, if that makes any sense. So it might not be that hard to make them either.

  5. December 6, 2010 9:21 am

    The charges and I will be making that same train next week!

    The parade sounds wonderful, if chilly. I particularly like the Daisy Scouts’ sign!

  6. December 6, 2010 9:39 am

    Found it and tried to draw it. Maybe next year- we did the Halloween version this year which has the perk of simplifying December a bit.

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