The Scuff Gathering occurred once again this year. However, it’s much more than what it “was” the first year we asked a few neighbors over in 1997. Now, it seems we’re all old friends, and the time passes too quickly. This year a couple new neighbors joined in the fray and seemed to fit the occasion just like those of us who’ve lived in this little hamlet for years. Even cousin Nancy came up, and I believe made a few new friends. That’s the whole thing, old friends renewed bonds, and new friendships might have begun.
Despite the fact we had so much food, Arnie & Kaye brought a fabulous Strawberry Genoise Cake SHE made at home. It was the first thing gone. It’s a bit time consuming, but a fabulous recipe….provided on request. Elena & Emilio brought a traditional Italian dessert, a Pannitoni Cake flush with some rich creamy filling, the second item gone. Nancy even brought Mac an entire can of Dog Treats!
I couldn’t believe it! The very first piano teacher I ever had came to this gathering along with son Steve (who only lives a couple miles away), and daughter Lorene. Marilee, at the time, was a very young Mother in Vale, Oregon, married to the local Chiropractor, taught music in her home. She inspired me in MANY ways, and due to some great training, and a little luck, became able to play at many weddings and funerals IN that little cow town during the years 1956-1964. THAT was my first exposure to life outside the enclosed world of Mormonism, and very likely allowed me to learn that spirituality can’t be boxed into one narrow belief system. Marilee WAS my gateway then, and to this day, we have remained in touch. She remains an inspiration to anyone. Here we were just prior to my first REAL solo recital at about 14:
Marilee was just a bit older than my one sister, the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family who died at 33 leaving my Mom terribly hurt. I’ve often felt that Marilee became my sister………………and maybe a daughter to Mom. Oh well. Friendships sometimes come into our lives for a time, and their purpose is fulfilled and we grow apart. Not always. Isn’t it truly a Christmas celebraton when a lifetime friendship gets to be renewed in person? That’s what this was.
Seems everyone had nothing else to do Sunday night because everybody was here by 6:45, and singing began by 9:00……..Neighbor Sam’s boy Conrad (the daring skateboarder out on the Oregon desert in an earlier post?) had also begun Trombone lessons this year, so wanted to play along. He fetched that big horn (that had been his Dad’s) and was a HIT as he played his own version of a few carols. He’s only 7! The one Carol that’s always my favorite is “Here Comes Santa Clause” ….which we speed up on every verse………..
So THIS was a memorable night, without question the warmest gathering since we’ve lived here. It is the FIRST time the last guests were there till 1:00 am.
Since Emilio & Elena had no Christmas Dinner plans, they accepted an invitation to come on up for their second American holiday dinner, another Roast Turkey & Trimmings meal. But. NO. They couldn’t just come up and eat with us. She made another Pannitoni Cake and also insisted on preparing some fresh Turkey Tortellini since that’s a traditional Italian first course Christmas meal selection. Here they were cooking this on the spot:
WHAT? Can you imagine? We had an entire meal of Turkey, Dressing, Potates & Gravy, Green Beans (you know, yes, with the dried onions on top?), winter salad, cranberries, etc etc. They added a Pasta course to this! Yes. By 5:00, we were ALL uncomfortably full and hadn’t eaten the desserts yet.
The other thrill that day was the snow. Though not heavy, it was white. Portland’s history with snow on Christmas is rare. The last snow on Christmas was 1990, and before that was 1937. The trees were beautiful:
It snowed MORE Christmas night so this morning I took a wire brush to the bird feeders where snow had melted yesterday into thin ice, and snow on top of that today meant our little winter birds were having a hard time finding food. Here we are, brushed, cleaned and ready for Christmas diners:
Mac prayed for snow:
He was rewarded with our own excitement this morning to go out and make a snowman facing Skyline:
It was a fabulous 3 days up to today. Tomorrow? Snow forecast up to 5-6 inches at our high spot in town by afternoon, then all turning back to rain by night time. Damn. It will be interesting to see if the road here is passable tomorrow morning for Rodger to return to work. We woke this morning to hear on news that two of our streets leading off the hill were closed due to accidents, and a power pole situated on a curse one block from this house was sheared by a car going too fast on the ice.
The worst thing? The 2007 Christmas Celebration excitement is over. We will settle into the clean up phase soon enough. The month of preparations, the 3-4 days of pleasure, then the creation of memories as things are put away for the 2007 season of our lives becomes our reality this next week.