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Over the River and Through the Woods …

… one thing I don’t miss these days. The long trips over the holidays. On clogged highways. My husband’s family lived out of state. It always meant traveling in the winter on snow covered roads. We tried avoiding bad weather, following forecasts and working our schedules around the best travel days.

I-70 at noon Wednesday

One Easter we got trapped by a late ice storm and didn’t get home to get back to work. Having relatives in the highlands of northeastern PA meant treacherous trips on I-81 and I-83. I feel for those who have those same dilemmas and who face the clogged roads to make it home to visit. But, I would be happy to have his family still with us, and take those trips to see them. We miss our families most during the holidays. My mom is still active and we cherish the years we have by sharing holidays with her.

Today we get to leisurely drive about 30 miles to share Thanksgiving with my brother and his extended family. Since the 1990’s he has always sponsored midshipmen at his home, first in Catonsville and now south of Annapolis. It means quite a bit to the families of these young men that they have a safe place to come and share a day or two, or a meal or two, with someone who looks out for them. Many of them still keep in touch.

We go to his home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Fourth of July, usually. Plus, birthdays, weddings, graduations, Mother’s Day, and just sometimes to see old friends, having a base for get togethers is comforting and familiar. It does mean we have made our own personal traditions, that dovetail with the family visits.

I don’t know how many years we never had a Christmas tree. Lately, we do get one since we are home on Christmas day. The first few times we got one when we married more than 30 years ago, they would dry out and drop needles all over the place, since we went to PA for four or five days. I have yet to succumb and buy an artificial tree. We now buy ours locally at either TLV or Pine Valley

Around our current home, all the trees grouped by the driveway were former Christmas trees from the previous owner. Bought with the root ball, they were planted and some of them are 25 years old. If we were younger, we would do that, but at least we recycle our tree into mulch with the county. I do love the grouping of trees at our home, though. They make me think of the memories of the family whose children grew up here 20 years ago.

Today I will eat my brother’s turkey and fixings. He cooks most of the dinner, just as my dad loved to cook. We will come home tonight and brine our turkey and have our dinner tomorrow or Saturday. This is also a big radio contest weekend, and luckily, my husband now contests from home. It means we can have that dinner, and make our own memories in our home. Now, off to find the brining supplies for the turkey and put together the cooler to take to my brother’s.

Then, I need to figure out where I am putting the tree, and go up in the attic and get the Christmas lights out. And, do Christmas cookies and cards. Ah, the beginning of the busy season. Don’t forget about Small Business Saturday! Go out and buy something, presents, food, trees, whatever, from the small local businesses in Howard County.

Happy Thanksgiving!


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

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