Now that the gifts have been opened and the extra food enjoyed, we shall settle down again to a quieter time. I hope everyone, including those in local nursing homes, had a joyful Christmas holiday and that we all look forward to a healthier 2021. It was quite different to have lasagna for our Christmas dinner, but turned out to be an excellent choice; just having to bake it in the oven to get it piping hot and then still having plenty of leftovers. I didn’t make a dessert as Ron has had a time recently keeping his Type-1 Diabetes in good control and I also had some painful tummy days – as my kidney specialist says, “We all have our cross to bear.” Maybe I will do a cheesecake for us sometime along into January or even for Valentine’s Day.
My Auntie Ivy from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire in the U.K. called me the day before Christmas Eve; she is always a joy to hear from. She has one of those voices that you can recognize straight away. Ivy has a penthouse apartment in a high-rise senior residential home with great views, and help if needed. In her 90s, she still does her own cooking, but does have someone come in several times a week for the cleaning. Even though Ivy’s eldest daughter Anne lives close by, due to all of the government warnings, the family had decided to just stay home for the health and safety of everyone. They are in another ‘lock-down’ situation there in the U.K. for another two weeks, and everyone is encouraged to be very careful with health safety, since they are having the spread of this new strain of COVID currently.
Then on Christmas Eve, my Mum’s youngest sister Teresa called; they live just outside Oxford in a pleasant and quiet rural area, within a good walking distance to the village for necessities. Teresa and Ian were like us, just by themselves for Christmas, but Teresa (a wonderful cook) did roast turkey with all the extras and trimmings; they even had the annual bubbly with dinner. Then on Boxing Day, Dec. 26, my lovely sister Sally phoned. She now lives about 3-4 miles from where she was born and where I lived most of my life before moving to Alabama. It’s hard to believe I have lived in this state for over 50 years now. It was superb to hear from several in my closest family; that makes a person feel so special. If you have family that live close by, call them; and possibly try to have a safe visit, if you can. There are still things I miss about the home where I was raised; my small remaining family especially, and life as it was 50 years ago. I also miss the chance of meeting up with someone I knew from back when that area was my home. I miss the small country villages and the small shops run by such friendly folks; but as you know, I love life in the south; as it suits me to a tea.
Happy anniversary to Terry and Debbie Powell, they celebrate on December 30 and live just below Central, Alabama right on Highway 9. Then, Barbara Brown who lives on the corner of Coosa 14 and 18, will be celebrating her birthday on December 31; along with everyone in the world that will be enjoying New Year’s Eve/Day. We used to stay up at least until midnight, after watching the globe fall in New York; but now, when we get tired we just go to bed. Figuring, there are plenty of folks doing a lot of celebrating, including enough for us, and as we know, Time and Tide waits for no man.
We have been watching a lot of programs on the History channel, since most channels are now just showing reruns waiting for the new seasons to begin next month, and beyond. We have seen many shows under “Ancient Aliens” that have done quite a bit of information on Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. Where Stonehenge is located, you can see it from the motorway that takes you from the London area to the West country, where my brother’s farm is located. While my brother Maurice was taking me from the airport back to his house in 2001, as we passed Stonehenge, Maurice told me the story of Hayden Ingram, he was the eldest son of the proprietors of The Clay Pigeon Hotel and Pub at the corner of our road growing up. My brother did work with wrought iron and had made some fencing for the front of Hayden’s home. Hayden is married to Ingrid and she is one of the few Stonehenge guides that has a key to the now-fenced historic place, and is well-versed in the historical information. Some of the stones weigh up to 15 tons each. Wow! It makes one wonder how they could be moved from Wales to Wiltshire. I am still in touch with the Ingrams’ daughter Jacqueline, she is married to an American who works for UPS in New Jersey/New York. She and I used to choreograph string puppet shows when we were growing up, and we still exchange Christmas cards and news. I send a card to her Mum in England that Jack visits each Christmas. When Maurice collected me from the airport in 2001, we made a detour to stop at Eileen Ingram’s flat, and she made a wonderful English cooked breakfast for us that was delicious. No matter where you are, home-made food is just fabulous.
The fan/blower exhaust part for our central heat system was ordered on December 10; and has been on its way for a week now. This happened, of course during some of our coldest days and nights. We made do with some modern space heaters for the rooms we use; but when we got the electricity billing this week, it was as high as when we have the central heating working, and it was installed in 1996; surely things have improved since then? I think if we have any more serious problems in the near future with the old system, we shall just have to have it replaced and updated no matter the cost.
I also had a phone call before the holiday week from Pat Garnett, my friend who moved to Odenville, Alabama from Coosa Hwy. 63 a few years ago. I don’t see Pat as much at all now that she has moved and with COVID restrictions. I did learn that Michelle and Sharp, (Pat’s granddaughter) who live in Atlanta, had a baby boy, now two months old, and they are all happy as larks. Pat’s brother Wayne Stephens is not doing too much better; he is now in the VA Spinal Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, but can’t have any visitors. Wife Neta, bless her heart, has had troubles as well at the house; a tree fell on the old barn, and then the kitchen freezer went out. Luckily, the Stephens have another freezer in the basement, so saving the food was easy, just caused a little work to get it all moved. Luckily, Neta has a good support system at the Equality United Methodist Church that is always willing to help their members. It was sad to learn that our Equality Volunteers Fire Dept. lost one of the firefighters in October named Billy Alexander, no details known. Earlier this year we lost firefighter Michael Johnson. Many thanks to a generous donation from Pauley Perrette, we got the equipment needed and required for the new pumper trucks; everyone here is grateful for that kind gesture, and appreciate her kindness to a location where her daddy Paul lives.
Let’s hope that once the vaccines get out in good numbers to those that really need than; we will begin to heal from this awful COVID pandemic and start to enjoy a healthy 2021.
Happy New Year to you and yours, no matter where they may live. And, until next week, keep smiling. Rosie