December Grays

December is gray and dreary. It creeps in trailing vestiges of crisp autumn days and lingering aromas of Thanksgiving turkeys. It is dark here before 5 PM, and the sun does not reappear—when it does–until 7 AM. Thank goodness for central heat and electric lights! I understand the desire in previous centuries to conquer December’s gloom with Yule logs and candles. I understand the impulse to brighten the grays and browns of December with fragrant greens of fir and pine and the bright red of holly berries. I understand the requests for cinnamon and nutmeg scented treats, savory stews, and belly-warming drinks. I understand the wish for miracles to light the darkness of body and soul.

December is also the anniversary of my birth—yesterday. Some people with December birthdays feel that they do not receive a full birthday celebration in the midst of holiday celebrating. I look upon it as having extra days of celebration, and my birthday is simply one part of it. On Saturday, my husband and I went on a wine trolley tour of four South Jersey wineries. (We did this last year, too, and you can read about it here.  This year, my younger daughter and her boyfriend joined us, and we visited some wineries we had not been to before. It was a fun day, and I’m glad my husband and I got to share it with our daughter and her boyfriend. We laughed at the totally obnoxious group of women who drank vodka on the trolley and other drinks at our late lunch/dinner. (They sat at the bar; we sat at a table with a view of the lake.) Thank goodness, though they stumbled, dropped things, and yelled, they did not spill anything on any of us or vomit on the trolley. I can appreciate even small holiday miracles.

Enjoying My Wine at Heritage Vineyards

Enjoying My Wine at Heritage Vineyards

Yesterday, on my actual birthday, I spent the afternoon relaxing. In true crazy cat woman fashion, I sat in my bathrobe, ate the double chocolate cake my daughter had baked for me, and re-watched The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as cats alternated cuddling and prowling about the living room. Then my husband and I went to see the next Hunger Games movie, followed by the now-traditional birthday meal at our favorite Indian restaurant. It was low-key, but fun.

As I get older, I realize it’s not presents that I desire so much (although they’re nice, of course). It’s the love of husband, family, and good friends that I cherish the most. It’s the desire to continue to be strong in mind and body, and to have warmth and cheer in the dismal grays of December.

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. My husband and I will light the candles, and I will think of miracles. One is that I am connected to everyone who reads this post. Time and space have been manipulated in ways our ancestors could never imagine. Peace on earth; goodwill to all.

And don’t forget to eat latkes. They’re a culinary miracle.

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For information about the Wine Tours see Vintage South Jersey.

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18 thoughts on “December Grays

  1. I’m glad your birthday was mellow and happy, just like the tone of this post. It is true “time and space have been manipulated in ways our ancestors could never imagine.” And because of it, we have this wonderful connection!

    The latkes look so appetizing. . . .
    Candles, light, miracles – I like the association. Happy Hanukkah!

  2. Extra days to celebrate. I’ll have to pass that on to my eldest son who was born on the 20th and my B-I-L born on the 29th! That’s a good positive spin. I recall my grandmother’s home coming to life with fresh evergreen during holiday season, and the kitchen, in particular, coming to life with bubbling bowls of steaming dishes and the aromas of the season. Gray or not, you have to love December! Glad you enjoyed your birthday!

  3. Happy Birthday, Merril. I would have loved to have been on that wine trolley tour. It’s a much more sensible way to enjoy the occasion. My husband, Dave, also has his birthday this month. He’s Jewish and shares this time with Hanukkah.

    Overcast days in December do seem so much more cheery when you add festive reds and greens. I love latkes, especially with a side of apple sauce and/or sour cream. Yum. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 😉

  4. Thanks so much, Judy!
    I agree–applesauce and sour cream with the latkes. Yum!
    Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you and yours!
    Oh–and happy birthday to your husband! 🙂

    • Because of your wonderful culinary influence, my husband shared a latke with me yesterday at lunch. In exchange, I shared some of my cheese blintz with him. Wonderful. I had little applesauce and sour cream with the latke. 😉

  5. YUM! I haven’t had blintzes in forever. I’m not a big fan of frying–latkes are mandatory though, and I even made them twice this season. 🙂
    We’re going to have some leftover latkes tonight–and of course, applesauce and sour cream.

  6. Happy belated birthday.
    What a lovely post.
    And wise too. I particularly like this part:
    “As I get older, I realize it’s not presents that I desire so much (although they’re nice, of course). It’s the love of husband, family, and good friends that I cherish the most. It’s the desire to continue to be strong in mind and body, and to have warmth and cheer in the dismal grays of December.”
    My best wishes for 2015.

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