Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-15-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 AT HOME NOVEMBER 15-21, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION lowed by my own personal favorite..."Soup, Sandwich, and Dessert Day" on the Friday. We are almost never able to all be here together for Thanksgiving. As I have often said, there are two sides to every family and most families have their own traditions, too. Tom's family stays in the city for the Macy's Day parade, something very special to my daughter-in-law, Lisa, NYC born and bred as is my grandson JR. Others celebrate the holiday with their in-laws or sometimes they just prefer a quieter day home alone, all of which is fine and good. But we still miss being able to be together under one roof. That's why I invented Soup, Salad and Dessert Day a few years ago. The beauty of the Friday celebration is that it's abso- lutely free-form and infor- mal. I will make a big pot of turkey soup and Kathy, who is vegetarian, will make her own. Joan usually brings a whole turkey already sliced and on a platter, I put out whatever leftovers I have from the previous day, and others patch in with bread, condiments, drinks, and desserts. The food is there, people eat what they want when they want it, and the crowd fills the sunroom, the dining room, and the living room, with the cousins spill- ing out into the yard and beyond. There will usually be board games and drinks later in the evening for the adults and maybe sleepovers for some of the cousins. It is noisy, messy, and fun. Then comes Christmas. This year my daughter Barbara and son-in-law Jonathan will be hosting Christmas Eve at their home in Massachusetts. It was designed and built in the '50s by his father, an archi- tect, with large-scale parties in mind. Unlike my own small place, it will easily accommodate all 40 or so of us as we gather around what has been promised will be a "big ass" tree where we will exchange gifts, and a baby grand piano (hopefully tuned before then) around which we hope to sing Christmas carols with Kathy and Ken playing backup on guitars. They are really excited about having us there because it will be the first Christmas ever in memory celebrated under the roof of this Jewish family home ( Jonathan said they usually celebrated the holiday next door with their neighbors), although Barbara said they did have a small tree there last year. She described it as a late Christmas Eve last minute purchase of a pathet- ic marked-down Charlie Brown look-alike tree they named Norman and it didn't really count. Some of us are planning to attend in paja- mas. More immediately, I am also looking forward to this weekend when I will be driv- ing up to visit my daughter Kathy in New Hampshire. We have tickets for a pro- duction of "Spamalot" at the regional theater in Manchester on Saturday evening, but as good as that sounds, what I am really looking forward to is spend- ing the day out and about with Kathy. It is going to be a "winterberry day." Two years ago on another lovely fall day in N.H., Kathy and I had been out shopping at an indoor farm- ers market in one of the neighboring towns. Driving through the New England countryside is always nice, and it's seems even more special on crisp fall days, but on this particular day, Kathy happened to spot red berries growing wild along the road- side. We decided we needed to harvest some to take home for Christmas decora- tions, so we stopped at a hardware store to buy prun- ing shears and then set out on our mission. It was my self-appointed task to do the cutting, often hanging onto flimsy branches and leaning way over to reach the best ones while Kathy kept a tight grip on the back of my jacket to keep me from tum- bling ass-over-teakettle into the boggy abyss below, both of us laughing like idiots the whole time. Gathering them has become something we both look forward to. Just this morning, Kathy mentioned that she had spotted some earlier this week. "Should I bring the pruning shears on Saturday," I foolishly asked, and then we laughed and laughed. Holiday season is off and running and it looks like it's all going to be good. RHEA From Page One

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