Our church held a neighborhood Christmas party on Friday. The poster announced the location: Whoville. The cultural hall (aka full-court gym) had been transformed into the snowy town from which Mr. Grinch had attempted to steal Christmas from the Whos. The setting including an ice skating rink for kids in stockinged feet (the rink enthralled my two-year-old granddaughter Lila), a genuine snowless alpine sledding slope, the Whoville Charities booth accepting new winter coats, boots, gloves, and hats for the Boys & Girls Club, the Whoville Post Office where visitors could send cards to young people serving church missions abroad, a Who-house chimney into which little Whos tossed wrapped gifts that tumbled down into the house, the Whoville Hair Salon, a cookie decorating station, the Whoville Photo Studio taking pictures of children with the Grinch, and the Whoville Sweet Shop where children lined up for banana and orange and berry cotton candy faster than I could spin it. Wisps of sugar gossamer tickled my face and clung to my hair and clothing. Three-year-old Gabe exercised his insider privilege and stood on a chair spinning his own cotton candy, with a little help from me. Lila, too, helped herself to the sugary puffs. Mom and Dad brought a large bag with their donations, happy to have helped children who need warm winter clothing. Mom and Dad sat smiling with mirth as Whoville teamed with happy little Whos running around in their Who pajamas. Mom declared it to be “the best Christmas party I’ve ever attended.” Our Mr. Grinch already possessed a big warm throbbing heart, and made friends with all the children. In fact, the Grinch is Gabe’s new favorite superhero (so long Spiderman). A framed 8×10 of the duo sits prominently on Gabe’s nightstand.
Pictured above: Gabe and the Grinch
The Whoville Ice Rink
Granddaughter Lila enjoying the rink with her dad
Alpine sledding slope
Where Gabe met Mr. Grinch
Sending Christmas cards to far-flung missionaries
Decorating sugar cookies
Donations to the Boys & Girls Club
Gabe and I spinning his cotton candy
Mom’s and Dad’s neighbor stopped by Sunday afternoon with an invitation to a block party at his house later in the week. Hamburgers and hot dogs plus pot luck salads and desserts. I decided to go—he is my neighbor now, too. Mom and Dad decided it would be too difficult for them to go, so I walked over alone. They thought it would be bad form for me to bring them food from a party they did not attend or contribute to. I understood, but explained that if Darrell offered, I would accept. I received a warm welcome, which was nice since I felt a bit awkward as an older single man in a crowd of contended couples. I met several families: Valentine, Liu, Antonelli, Back, Lundgren, Jarvis, Breen, Callister, Taylor. Nice people all. I fought off creeping distress after learning four names, fearing I would forget them all upon hearing a fifth. Many of them inquired after Mom’s and Dad’s welfare. Fixings for the hamburgers included crisp bacon, grilled onions, and over-medium eggs, and I confess to enjoying my burger very much. The donuts I brought were popular, disappearing as fast as the burgers. Mary Ann asked if I would like to take some food home for Mom and Dad. “Well,” I responded, “I have been instructed neither to request nor refuse.” “Well, then, load up a plate!” she ordered. Dad relished his “most excellent” hamburger, and Mom her blackened all-beef franks.
Sunshine is all wrapped up and snuggly and safely tucked for Amy’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which involves beating pots and pans with wood spoons and ooohing at fireworks and playing games and munching treats. I hope Sunshine doesn’t mind the racket!