Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home Again--What a Boxing Day!

In England, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas (also St. Stephen's Day). When I was a child I was confused by the notion of boxing the day after Christmas--I was pretty sure it had to do with siblings fighting about their presents. When I asked Mom about it, she explained that Boxing Day is the day you box up food and gifts and go visiting. Her definition was not exactly the same as more official versions, but it made sense to me.

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:

Homeward bound: Same mountain from a different angle on a clear day:

Again near Moorefield:
Crossing the South Branch of the Potomac (I think? George or Matthew, is this right?):

Frost rimed the trees as we neared Petersburg:

And so to home....what a beautiful state this is.


Angela said...

Hey Granny Sue!

That sounds like a lot of fun! Your pictures are wonderful as usual. You are so right. West Virginia is a beautiful state!

Rowan said...

Glad ypou had such a good time, sounds like the family gatherimngs we had at my gran's when I was a child. There's some beautiful scenery along the route made even prettier by the snow. My good wishes to your nephew as he leaves for Afhanistan.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a beautiful state indeed Sue - and your round trip sounds good too. Happy New Year to you all.

bayouwoman said...

Oh so gorgeous! I'm so glad you made the trip and thanks for sharing about the boxing tradition and your family's past traditions. I thought about you this morning, as I read over a poem I posted yesterday. I wanted to invite you down to read it. I think you will enjoy it!!! It's a "night before Christmas tall tale"


Granny Sue said...

I took so many photos, Angela, all as we were driving of course, with the exception of one or two. It's always interesting to see which ones actually look like anything when I get them on the computer. If we stopped for everything I wanted to photograph, we'd have have a week getting home.

Granny Sue said...

Rowan, I think Brian is fine about going. He's been a Marine for 10 years and this deployment is for 5 months so it's not too long. It will be harder for my sister Mary, his mother, I think.

Granny Sue said...

Weaver you were right in your post about the snow that stays waiting for more to come. It's snowing again today and more predicted this week!

Granny Sue said...

Hey, BW, I did read it last night but was too tired to post a comment. Talk about your local flavor! Too funny.

Anonymous said...

Was it the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac?

Granny Sue said...

Could have been? Or the south fork of the west spoon of the north branch of the east Potomac??? That river confuses me :-) But I think you're right, it was the North fork of the South Branch.

Janet, said...

I love your pictures, Suzanne. We don't do much traveling in the winter time to see the snow in the mountains. We're thinking about going to Pipestem in January for a day or two, though.

Granny Sue said...

I bet it will b beautiful, Janet. The trees stand out in winter in a way we don't see when they're fully clothed :-)

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