It is finally beginning to look and feel like winter. Since we haven't have much rain in the last couple of weeks things are awfully dry and the countryside is subject to fires. Maybe we will end this dry spell with a snowfall, although most people around here don't like measurable amounts of snow.

It is finally beginning to look and feel like winter. Since we haven't have much rain in the last couple of weeks things are awfully dry and the countryside is subject to fires. Maybe we will end this dry spell with a snowfall, although most people around here don't like measurable amounts of snow.
As Russell and I both had birthdays this week, we got a surprise visit from Russell's brother and part of his family. They came down from North Dakota and spent a couple of days. The weather here was very similar to weather they left behind. It has been clear and sunny there,  but a bit colder and they did have a little snowfall a week or two earlier.
I don't send many Christmas cards but have been rushing to send the few I do. Earlier this year I spent some time in the hospital and received get well cards. I kept all the cards and then addressed a Christmas card to each one who wished me well when I became sick. I had not acknowledged receipt of the get well cards so decided to send a Christmas card to each person and thank them for the get well card.
I did get that done and feel so much better because I, at last, responded to all the kindnesses.
When our relatives were down last weekend, Mary Jean Barker stopped by with a poinsettia. We invited her in to meet the family. We had gathered in the family room so Mary Jean joined us. She fit into our group as if she were family, and we enjoyed having her. A visit like that is one of the true meaning of Christmas, you are expanding the family and knitting a togetherness among all the people.
My sister-in-law teaches in a pre-school which was what Mary Jean did for 22 years. Needless to say, they had a lot to share. My daughter-in-law is an alumna of Mary Jean's old pre-school. So everyone found common bond.
This gathering around the fire may well be the thing I remember most about our birthdays and Christmas 2017. Thanks for dropping in Mary Jean and for making a good memory happen. Your visit was a good as a visit from Old St. Nick.
Now there are only 10 days left before Christmas so it will be a busy time. In most houses there is some baking to be done and packages to wrap. Most people insist on gift giving and everyone loves to do it, myself included. For the past few years, instead of giving gifts, we have taken certain friends out to breakfast on New Year's morning. We seat ourselves around a big table to visit and have a wonderful breakfast buffet with more food than we can possibly hold.
This seems to work for us and I'm sure it will work again this New Year's Day.
We will be busy these next few days, but not too busy to remember the birth of the Christ Child and what his birth has meant down through the generations.



 
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.