• Last modified 209 days ago (Dec. 28, 2023)


Another Day in the Country

Let the games begin

© Another Day in the Country

All I want to do,” my grandson said, “when we come for Christmas is to just be together and play games.”

That’s a pretty easy wish to fulfill. Then his dad texted me in the middle of December and said, “Sorry, but I can’t come,” even though the idea of the California crew visiting Kansas at Christmas had been his idea.

“We’re coming your direction, for a change,” Richard had said, even though traveling and a whole bunch of people getting together isn’t his idea of fun.

For the past ten Christmases, I’ve been flying to California — beating Santa by a few days and staying until after New Years.

That became the Christmas ritual. The last time that Jana and Dagfinnr were in Kansas for Christmas was when Dagfinnr was in first grade. Here he is a junior in high school!

That almost forgotten Christmas was the year I had the fun of getting him his first bicycle, and wouldn’t you know it, it snowed!

We went sledding along the snow-packed streets of Ramona behind Tooltime Tim’s truck, and Dagfinnr rode his bike up and down the hall in my house, around and around the traffic circle through the kitchen, through the art room (which my mother called the dining room), into the hall, down past where we eat, through the kitchen and the art room, into the hall — over and over and over and over.

At least one time, he didn’t make a sharp turn through the double doors in the art room and into the hall. “Ooops.” There are tire tracks on the wall to prove it. And they are still there! I kept them for sentimental reasons.

I had so much fun decorating the house this year. I got out all the Christmas decorations. We have a lot since we used to decorate quite a few Christmas trees back in the days we had Cousin’s Corner Bed and Breakfast.

I decorated a Christmas tree for the guest room where Jana sleeps. It was from the year we decorated with miniature picture frames with photos of family members and friends who were far, far away.

In Dagfinnr’s room, I decorated a little tree with teddy bears that I’d made one year when my family was driving to Oregon to spend Christmas with my mom and dad. Jana was 8. 

My mother never had a Christmas tree in her house. She and Dad thought that Christmas was a pagan ritual, so no trees. We did exchange presents, and there was a little nativity set always on the fireplace mantel, but not a Christmas tree in sight.

Then, my parents retired and moved to a little farm they’d purchased. If you’ve read this column long enough, I’m sure you know that the farm they moved to was a Christmas tree farm!

There were perfect Christmas trees everywhere on that farm, and I envisioned tramping through the winter snow to cut down the perfect tree with my family and decorating it — with little teddy bears.

Surely, Mom wouldn’t consider teddy bears pagan, but she did.

We cut the tree, decorated it, and stood it up in the garage “fruit room” where Mom did her canning and sewing projects, and that was it.

Never will I forget that Christmas. Never would I have imagined that someday those little pirate bears and bride bears would grace my grandson’s very own little Christmas tree at Christmas.

The theme for the rest of the Christmas decorations in the living room you might guess. Think a minute. What do I write about incessantly? You got it: ducks.

I hadn’t remembered that through the years I’d obtained several kinds of duck.

I brought out a pair of ducks made of twigs for Thanksgiving and put them on a side table in the living room. I just added poinsettias, and they became a Christmas decoration.

I bought a whole family of ducks on a whim at a Christmas sale — a duck in her fancy Christmas cape, father duck all kitted out, and two ducklings with holly on their caps.

They’ve been used through the years. Legs broke off and a beak got cracked. But I valiantly repaired them and packed them away at the end of the season.

There’s a Canada goose and her gosling by the tub in the guest bathroom, waiting to take a swim.

“I should have known that you secretly wanted ducks,” my sister laughed when she saw the theme. “You’ve been collecting these for years.”

I bought some new games per Dagfinnr’s Christmas wish, got out the old games including an antique Touring game, and wrapped them all and put them under the tree. 

“Pick one or two a day,” I said, “and, let the games begin.”

So far, it’s been Wingspan (a new game Richard sent for us to try out), Guesstures, all kinds of trivia games from a tower of games called 12 Days of Quizmas), Gin (which Clayton taught us because he’d received a pack of cards), Monopoly, Golf, Jokers and Pegs, Hand and Foot, the Harry Potter game (which was less than exciting) and Happy Salmon (that was a hoot) — all this in seven days and counting on another day in the country.

Last modified Dec. 28, 2023