I drive Mom to the Round Rock Presbyterian Church Tuesday morning to pick up the postings from Mary Ann. For decades, Mom has been assisting in the weekly bookkeeping effort of posting donations. They reconcile the numbers once a month. Mary Ann uses the computer while Mom works with paper and pencil. It keeps her brain sharp. All the better to mind her children’s business.
Coming home for Christmas provides opportunity to meet up with family. It’s been a couple of years since we last dined with the Horners – James, Liz, Emma and Claire. Liz and James are film producers visiting home from Berkeley California. Liz is Karen’s cousin. I would go on about how good the Grove Wine Bar and Kitchen is, but good eats is standard fare for Austin and to be expected. After quaffing a 512 IPA, I enjoy a flight of French wines; 3 ounces each of a 2011 Gérard Bertrand Tautavel Grand Terroir, a 2012 Chateau L’Hospitalet Coteaux de Languedoc La Clape and a 2011 Féraud-Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau. Not sure why I thought I needed to try a local brew, these wines are incredible.
The girls visit Karen’s Uncle Melvin, Liz’s father, on Christmas Eve. He might be moving soon to live with his daughter Jane and her idiocats in Houston. We rarely travel to Houston so this is a good time to visit. Ever the history teacher, Uncle Melvin tells tales to the girls of the McBee family from the early days.
We attend services on Christmas Eve at Mom’s church and open presents. Here she is opening her grandchild Christi’s engagement picture. I meet Christi’s fiancé Kevin for the first time. He’s a super nice young man who teaches the PE program at Christi’s elementary school in San Antonio.
Kevin hums along as the girls entertain Mom with a few songs. This song above is You and I and the song below is Happy Ever After. The girls improvise as this is the first time for them to play the ukulele to most of the tunes.
We migrate to Karen’s Dad’s house for Christmas where Brit’s Uncle Steve upgrades her ukulele with some nice quality Aquila strings. Brilliant way to improve a cheap ukulele, assuming you can string a guitar.
I try to get Karen, Steve and Laura to strike a Charlie’s Angels pose here but they are too dignified. It’s always a huge multiple-family gathering at the Colliers for Christmas. Watching the little kids open their pile of gifts is entertaining.
Brit and I get down to Town Lake for some exercise. Brit runs while I walk. Still injured. It’s so warm this year, I sweat walking in the rain. I might remember the full moon though for Christmas more than the heat wave, it’s so spectacular. Mostly hanging out, reading and dining at my favorite Austin eateries before the drive home next week. The Alamo Draft House is on our list. Might even stay an extra day to avoid a coming blizzard. Merry Christmas everyone.