My parents traditionally had open house on Christmas evening. Friends and family came all evening to eat, sing, talk and generally have a good time. The big dining table would be laden with good things to eat--eggnog, fruitcake, mince pies, sausage rolls, cookies, tarts and all manner of things not part of our normal diet. And we could eat as much of it as we wanted. It was amazing. Aunt Doris and Uncle Al (not our real relatives, but friends of our parents) would come with their sons. Uncle Bill and Aunt Thelma (or was it Theresa?), also not real relatives, would come, and he would be a bit tipsy as he sat at the piano playing carols and singing. These friends usually brought small gifts for each of us children so we adored them. Our uncles sometimes came with their children, neighbors stopped in, and if our Dad's parents were in from Texas or Louisiana or wherever they were living or traveling at the time, they came with with our funny Aunt Ellen. Everyone would be dressed up, and the evening did not end until long after us children were sent to bed.
My parents continued the tradition, although as they aged it narrowed down pretty much to just us--their children and grandchildren. After I moved to West Virginia, I was seldom able to be there because our mountain roads and our wood stove don't allow us to go far from home in winter. After my parents passed away, my sister Mary continued the tradition at her home, and this year, Julie took on the party.
Since the weather looked reasonable for the weekend, Larry and I decided yesterday morning to make the 12-hour round trip to be at the party. Our nephew Brian is heading to Afghanistan soon and he was in from California for the weekend, and that was even more reason to go.
We had a very good time. I took no pictures at the party because I was too busy having a good time but I am hoping someone else had the presence of mind to take a few. Eleven of the thirteen brothers and sisters were there, along with numerous nieces and nephews. There was much food, much talk and much laughter. Basically it went like this: six and a half hour trip; nine-hours of party; seven hours of sleep; six-hour trip home.
The drive was beautiful. Last weekend's heavy snow was still lingering in most places so the views were just spectacular. I took many photos as we whizzed along (Larry was not in a let's-stop-an-take-some-pictures-mood!). Here are few shots from the trip:
The melting snow led to some foggy conditions in the mountains:
Snow outlined the hills but the driver (Larry) was fortunately busy watching the road while I took photos.
Seneca Rocks was beautiful in its snow dressing, and fog obscuring the tops of the mountains behind the Rocks:
At Moorefield this mountain looked like Mount Olympia as it rose through the fog: