Holiday Greetings to Friends and Family, Christmas 2015
What is it about an Advent Calendar? It seems to be the perfect way to get one in the mood to celebrate Christmas. Every year, a dear friend presents Beverly with an electronic version that permits her to wrap presents as elegantly as Nordstrom’s, to bake professionally decorated gingerbread men, and to sing Christmas carols while backed up by a full symphony orchestra. But while Beverly finds that the cyberspace flawlessness really satisfies that part of her brain that craves perfection, she realizes it’s only a dress rehearsal for the real thing.
And the real thing might well include burned baked goods, the inability, any longer, to hit the high notes, and the unrepentant use of recycled gift bags. A holiday incident that has now passed into legendary family lore springs to mind. Every Thanksgiving, Beverly deposits the remains of the turkey, a few onions, a couple of carrots, and a bag of barley into the crockpot. All night long, heavenly fragrances tickle our nostrils and cause us to salivate in our sleep. We can hardly wait to taste the first spoonful. One year, however, the soup had to be unceremoniously dumped down the disposal. We all had been eagerly chowing down when a youthful but highly observant Maxwell pointed out, “The barley in this soup has wings.”
“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans,” John Lennon supposedly wrote, and he was right. Jon and Beverly still plan to tick off a whole host of items on their respective bucket lists, but only after Beverly’s health issues and Jon’s political obstacles have been resolved or reduced. Still, they find a great deal to appreciate in their lives—including Brendan’s biannual trips out here from Fort Worth (which always include a jam-packed itinerary of sights we would have never otherwise seen) or the generosity of Naomi or Nathan or Angie and Trevor who allow the grandparents as much alone time as possible with Maxwell and Elliott.
Every time Beverly unpacks her “baby in a box”—the portable playpen that now houses all the little kid paraphernalia that a decade ago kept Maxwell comfortable and amused—she recalls and recounts her favorite blessing. She’s now allowed to enjoy grandparenting a second time around with Elliott (who may presently claim he wants to be a firefighter or a police officer but will, in Beverly’s humble opinion, end up as the next Perry Mason).
Although Jon still looks forward to taking fourteen-year-old Maxwell up in the Cessna, teaching him how to power-shift the SRT4, or hear him play the string bass with his high school orchestra, he also now gets to introduce Elliott to the piano, take him to see the Blue Angels or perch the three-year-old on his lap so Elliott can “back” Nana’s car out of the garage.
When she’s not posting photos on Facebook, Beverly volunteers with Chloe the Therapy Dog, writes a weekly Port Hueneme Museum feature for the Hueneme ePilot called “History by the Minute,” and is uber-involved with the Friends of the Library. She gave up her column with the Ventura County Star to finish up (at last) The Second Oldest Cold Case in Port Cabrillo, which was released in late October. The highlight of her year, however, has to be receiving the “People Who Make a Difference Award’ in mid-November.
Jon’s special achievement for 2015 was recording his album of original music called “West of Malibu.” He claims he was particularly inspired by the piano at Sessions at the Loft. In a former life, the Yamaha grand was the house instrument at the Jazz Bakery. Coincidence?
Wishing you love, peace, joy, and abundant blessings in 2016,
Jonathan, Beverly, Brendan, Trevor, Angie, Elliott, Naomi, Max, Nathan and Chloe