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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: All I want for Christmas

© Another Day in the Country

The youngsters at Centre Elementary sang “All I Want for Christmas Is my Two Front Teeth” at their Christmas musical program, and it got me to thinking about what I want for Christmas.

I’m talking affordable, fun stuff that a grandchild could buy.

“A flashlight, that’s what I want,” I’d tell them if someone asked.

Every time I need a flashlight, it’s dead. It has been so long since I last used it that the batteries are shot. Every time the electricity goes out — which, thankfully isn’t often — I grab the biggest flashlight I can find and inevitably it will not work. I go to the candle drawer and set up the tried and true means of lighting, anticipating a slow evening with ambiance. But I’d still like a dependable flashlight, maybe one of those rechargeable ones that I could plug into an electrical outlet so that I could always know where to find it.

“Socks,” I’d tell them, “cotton or with a little wool in them. For sure don’t give me those tight little polyester jobs that shrink to the size of a 5-year-old’s foot. Can’t stand those!”

“Books, if you really want to know. Not paperbacks with small print.”

Come to think of it, I’m pretty picky so I’d better choose my own reading material.

“Sorry, I mentioned books. A silver ring, size 7. I love Indian designs.”

I used to buy a ring every year — less than $50 — and I’d wear it for that year and then put it in the jewelry box. After about 10 years, I got more frugal and just recycled them. Presently, I’ve been wearing the same ring for at least two years. It hails from the 1990s.

Jess said she wanted a nutcracker for Christmas. In fact that nutcracker request has been out there unfulfilled for quite some time. Every time we’d go to a kitchen specialty shop, she’d be looking for the kind of nutcracker she wanted.

“Just a plain old nut cracker!” she’d say. “Don’t they make them anymore?”

Being a forward-thinking oldster, I went online to hunt for one of those “plain old-fashioned nutcrackers”. I scrolled and scrolled through hundreds of nutcrackers. It was an education. After I began to get weary I looked up at the top and the banner informed me that there were at least 4,000 nutcrackers available for me to choose from. I’m sure I had gone through less than 500 and already I was out of patience.

Those of you who already know more about the subject of nutcrackers than I do, were aware that a Nutcracker is a collectable item — whether or not they really work efficiently. There were Elvis nutcrackers, bride and groom nutcrackers and Santa nutcrackers. You could buy a whole set of Toy Soldier nutcrackers so that everyone in the family could have their own.

Do people even crack nuts that much anymore? I know if I suggested to my grandson that we’d crack nuts he’d probably ask, why?

My sister wants a nutcracker because her favorite nuts are hazelnuts that usually appear in the grocery stores at Christmas time. She loves to crack and eat them. She loves to make her favorite cookies with them. And, they are good — both the cookies and the nuts.

After my art class at Centre finished painting Mexican villages on the gourds I’d grown in my garden, there was one left. I’d cut the top off as an experiment and then deemed it way too much trouble to be attempting this for 30-some gourds. It also meant I’d have to clean them out, which I did not want to do. So the kids painted the complete gourd, untampered with and I had one altered gourd left over with its top cut off, which left it looking like a perfect nut bowl.

Did you guess it? I painted that nut bowl for Jess for Christmas. Instead of a Mexican village, it has scenes from Ramona including the post office and the railroad crossing with the cross bar down and the red lights flashing. On the bottom of the bowl I drew a bunch of nuts: walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and cashews along with the title of the bowl, and “Mixed Nuts” which is also the name of her favorite Christmas movie.

Simple stuff is the best stuff for Christmas and this silly project brought me so much joy in its creation. I chuckled as I painted. I smiled as I drove to the grocery store in Herington to get a huge bag of mixed nuts to fill it with and was quite pleased with my gift when I handed it to her. She laughed right out loud when she saw the bowl full of mixed nuts, symbolizing all of us here in Ramona, on another day in the country.

Last modified Dec. 20, 2018

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