My brother and Sister in law, Paul and Sandy, hosted us on Christmas Eve. Their home is slightly off the beaten path; we drove along dark and windy roads in the rain and fog arriving at their warm and welcoming home safe and sound. We noshed on a mediterranean platter of cous cous, baba ganoush, roasted veggies, hummus, cheese, prosciutto, olives. Paul pulled hot foiled-covered dishes of shrimp tempura and several different beef appetizers out of the oven. Wine and beer flowed along with soda and seltzer for those of us not drinking.
Their dog, Kaleigh, sat politely nearby waiting for us to drop morsels of food. I wanted to slip her a piece of prosciutto but didn’t dare for fear she’d get sick or I’d get in trouble with my brother. Paul and Sandy fed her dog treats, we all fussed over her, talking in voices higher pitched than normal. We stood in the kitchen where most of the food was being served, catching up with each other while Paul tried to coral us into the living room insisting we’d be more comfortable. Liz remarked that people always gather in the kitchen at parties; we stayed put, stuffing ourselves with the delicious food.
After getting our fill we eventually made our way to the living room where we ate cookies and cheesecake for dessert, drank coffee and opened our gifts. Cameras and smart phones were taken out; we started posing for photos, each of us hoping to get at least one decent shot, not an easy feat when there’s a dog involved. I came away with a camera full of blurry pictures, pictures with heads turned and arms out, pictures of K licking my face, licking my niece’s face, another of her back-end. I laughed so much my mouth hurt. In the end, a few good photos were taken but I’m saving every single one to look back on and remember Christmas Eve 2014 and how I was filled with gratitude for spending it with my family.