Rather than battle midnight crowds to grab doorbuster bargains -
Frank and I celebrated Black Friday by attending
the annual Lewistown Downtown Holiday Stroll.
It seemed like everyone came out to enjoy the mild winter evening.
Bonfires roared down the center of Main Street.
Glowing lights beckoned from open shops filled with holiday goodies.
But what really stood out
was how everyone seemed to enjoy just being together!
Sunday afternoon was the annual Christmas Memories House Tour
in support of The Hospice of Central Montana.
As usual it snowed.
Four locals graciously opened up their holiday clad homes.
Streams of muddy boots shod in "booties" enjoyed the sights.
Again, what was most dazzling was the congeniality and hospitality.
One tree in particular struck a cord.
An old-fashioned extravaganza clad with bubble lights
and all the gaudy bits that go with them.
The only thing missing was Bing Crosby crooning White Christmas.
Somehow that display instantly transported us to a better time.
But... what would Ethel think?
My blue blood Mother loathed anything
that she considered not "appropriate" during the holidays.
This included whatever was multi-colored or glittered.
For years I carried on the classic Christmas torch:
- NO artificial anything
- NO poinsettias
- NO colored candles
I adorned our homes with
Holly sprigs, Nandina berry sprays, and glossy Magnolia leaves
that Ethel shipped up from her garden in Virginia.
Most important anything "off"
was relegated to the kid's tree in the Library.
Over time life taught me more than my share of lessons.
Slowly decor became unimportant.
Rather cherished times spent with my children became the priority.
For the past few years Frank and I have celebrated Christmas in Montana.
Kind brother Bob cuts us a fresh tree from the woods near the family cabin.
We adorn it with an assemblage of ivory, gold, and silver ornaments.
In her later years
after being transplanted from Manhattan to Montana -
a disgruntled Ethel heartily approved of our tree stating
"now if only those cowboys would not wear their hats indoors".
But... those bubble lights...
Somehow they strangely beckon.
While I highly doubt we will ever break out of our classic mode -
red tapers have been known to adorn my Christmas Eve table.
Given everything that has happened -
as long as there's lots of love -
and gentlemen wear their hats only outside of the house -
I know Ethel would approve.