Christmas is coming! I haven’t put away my box of Christmas CD’s from last year and here I am listening to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” again.
The holidays start early in Mexico. Decorations come out at the malls in September and build into a gathering crescendo until Christmas Eve – the big night. Mexicans love holidays and Christmas is the most beloved and longest fiesta. I still can’t get used to hot weather and holiday time happening at once. A 90 degree day sometimes blindsides me and I wonder, “Why is Christmas being celebrated in the summer?” Max tempers the situation with words of truth that make me miss snow and ice less,. “Just remember, the first Christmas took place in a hot weather country,” he said, pressing the cookie cutter into the butter dough for our annual cookie giveaway to friends.
We have a little artificial Christmas tree that we keep in an old trunk that smells of mothballs. Once I take the tree out, the odor lingers a day or two and then the tree is just fine. I will string some garland on the old cupboard in the kitchen and hang Christmas cards from past years when people still wrote cards. Now it’s all about email cards. This year I’m going modern and emailing my card, too. Be on the lookout!
I just received a holiday letter from my friend Aunt Daisy who keeps up this lifelong tradition. She’s 83 years old and used to be a rodeo star in a fast track circuit but now lives on a farm with a few horses, a few dogs, a few cats and a rabbit. She hasn’t slowed down a bit. After she read the manuscript of my novel THE PINOCCHIO RING she emailed me to say, ”It bucked me up real good. You were in a bad box, but they didn’t nail you in. Congratulations for not bellyaching about your predicament, but for writing a book. Don’t worry about the afterclaps, stay on the horse and keep riding, Cowgirl.” I assured her things were fine now.
Our dear friends Cutlass and Bobo are partners in life and live out at the beach for half the year in a 1930’s hacienda style house once owned by the famous Mexican actress Rosa Azul who, it is said, loved the place so much that she still haunts it. Cutlass and Bobo have practically made a shrine to her out of the house. Each room is named after one of her movies.
This year, they are throwing a huge holiday party and have asked Max to cater. Although Max is retired from our catering company Presentation Is Everything, he still loves to cater for friends. I asked him what he has in mind for hors d’oeuvres and he said he would make the deviled egg swans, the red pepper poinsettias in multi grain bread pots and the carved veggies stuffed with various pates, all set into an enormous pine wreath. Carrots, radishes and eggplants are minions in Max’s hands and are his means of self- expression. Max paints with food.
I can hear him in the kitchen now unwrapping his special garnishing tools. Most of them are antiques from Japan. Max studied garnishing there just after we were married and apprenticed with one of the best. His favorite means of relaxation is polishing the garnishing tools and keep them in top condition, each are oiled and rust free. (The drawing of the tools is from my artist friend Juan Carlos’s sketchbook.) One of the tools played an important role on the island where we used to live, its function having nothing to do with garnishing. but that’s part of THE PINOCCHIO RING.
I’ll tell you more about the party after it’s over. There are bound to be some juicy details.
Good luck with all your holiday preparations!
Sending you warm breezes from across the Gulf,