Posts Tagged With: free Christmas dinner


DSC07374 (Copy)To have lush choices about how we will spend our Christmas week is a gift that reminds me how fortunate I am to be in a community that treasures neighbors, friendship and family. I planned to take a friend to lunch Christmas Eve day, but he was snowed in and I couldn’t pick him up. By coincidence, my son Ken and his family came to Murphys and I had lunch with them instead.

DSC07429 (Copy)Murphys hosts a free Christmas dinner every year for anyone who would like to join hands and enjoy this special day with others. My friend was still snowed in and I decided to go, remembering the last time I attended this dinner was right after my husband died, year 2000. It is held at the Native Sons Hall in Murphys and he was their treasurer at the time. Table, by table moves though the line after everyone is seated and has had a chance to visit and get acquainted.

DSC07431 (Copy)I expected to sit with neighbors I knew, second from left, Jan and then Becky. At the door, I was told, I had to sit where I was directed because they fill up the tables from front to back, so fast, and I would be unlikely to find a seat with my friends.

DSC07428 (Copy)As it turned out, I was standing in line with Carol Burton, (rt.) and her family of five. With me we made a “family” of six. Carol and I were part of American Field Service when my kids were in high school. Left, her daughter-in-law who is an Old Blue, meaning she graduated from UC Berkley.

DSC07432 (Copy)What was nice is that I could move from table to table and catch up with a number of people I hadn’t seen in years. Here, Eleanor Darby with her grandson. She is another old friend from AFS.

DSC07435 (Copy)Pastor Jo Sider in red, I hadn’t seen in two years and I’ve run into her 3 times in two weeks.

DSC07436 (Copy)Dan Darby, a magnificent artist, and now, a published author. He wrote a book entitled, God’s Gold.

DSC07439 (Copy)I didn’t get pictures of everyone I knew at the dinner, but I managed to get Carol’s family. Nancy, in front with her mom, is an avid biker, and for the first time I got a glimpse into her hobby. She sent me a map of Club’s ride  through central Oregon,  and then the coastal side of the State of Oregon,to take place in May. Behind her, son Jim and his wife; to the right, her daughter, Laurie and husband, with Santa peeking out from the crowd.

Today, my immediate family and my daughter-in-law’s family will be celebrating Christmas with a Greek themed dinner. We don’t trade gifts, but we will be gifting the Butte Fire Recovery Fund.

From Dr. Seuss,  How The  Grinch Stole Christmas, comes the wisest words:   “Christmas is within our grasp as long as we have hands to clasp.”

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Yesterday was a quiet day. I made two cranberry dishes, good keepers,  for Christmas. The last three years, I have not baked cookies for Christmas. My youngest son and daughter have taken over that task, and it had become a task more than a joy. It was good to let it go and enables me to slow down a bit, and take in the season leisurely. Kind of checking through the cookbooks to think about something different and festive to make for the holidays; polishing up the house for company in stages.

An old friend dropped by for a chat and a glass of wine. Bert is a Vietnam Vet who almost didn’t make it. Still, he claims, he’s suffered more from a car accident 25 years ago than the war. Bert is a prankster and once put up highway survey stakes across our orchard and caused my husband to think the county was cutting across our property for a new road!  He loved watching George “hit the ceiling.”

Last night, with my new leisure,  I came upon a PBS program I’d never seen before called Lidia Celebrates America. It’s a food show and I came away a fan. I looked up the program on-line and Voila! I can watch it on-line,  if I so choose. I probably won’t, but  I know I can. Somehow it is  satisfying just knowing I have the option.  I’m glad Christmas doesn’t happen all at once. We  slide into Christmas a bit each day. Getting out the lights and decorating. Attending a party or two. Donating to the food bank and wrapping a present for a child in need.  Sending  cards and letters, catching up with old friends I don’t see much anymore.

Murphys puts on a free Christmas dinner every year for anyone who wishes to attend. All are welcome. They are expecting a bigger than usual crowd this year. I know the city of Pleasanton has a free Thanksgiving dinner every year and The Little Red Church in Sonora feeds people one  free meal every day. We’ve come a long way since the days of the work houses and poor houses. It wasn’t that long ago that poor houses existed. Orphanages were full. My own great-grandfather had to take his children to an orphanage when his wife died because he couldn’t take care of them and work too. He eventually found a wife and was able to get them back. Before I was born,  a baby was left on my Grandmother’s doorstep because someone chose a family for a child they couldn’t take care of.  They were hard times. And I sometimes marvel that coming from a hardscrabble background, I’m affluent, I know no hunger, and I have leisure and choices. Would that it were true for everyone.

We must not lose the American dream that changed us and the world for the better.

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