We celebrated Christmas quietly at home, although we did enjoy a fun evening at the clubhouse on Christmas Eve. They have a fun gift exchange for those who want to participate. Everyone who brings a gift to exchange sits in a circle while a story is read. Each time the words "right" or "left" are spoken in the story, the gifts are passed in the appropriate direction The story goes quickly, and with 75 people or more sitting in a circle passing gifts of varying sizes and wrappings, things get interesting quickly! But it all worked out just right, Jim ended up with a very nice LED flashlight, and I came home with a cozy lap blanket, which one of the dogs promptly claimed as their own!
I took a break from line dancing on Christmas Day, but otherwise continued with the routine of learning new dances and teaching them to our group about as fast as I could learn them. I've been blessed to have both Danielle Mayer and Roberta Bisel here to help me learn some new dances. Both of these wonderful women have danced and taught for many years and have a great store of dance knowledge to share. They both know our good friend, Pat McFall, and Danielle knows good friend Dortha Hall as well. I just love how so many of our friendships are enter-twined with each other!
New Year's Eve found us at the clubhouse early for a gathering, but we were home long before the start of 2013. Line dancing class occurred as usual on Tuesday morning, no matter that it was New Year's Day! After class, I came home and we prepared the traditional Southern meal to start the New Year with good luck and prosperity.
A very tragic and sad event occurred on Sunday, January 6. Our very close friend in Amarillo, Vickie, called last Sunday to let us know she and her husband, Don, found her son, Duston, deceased in his home. These are the friends who have the full RV Hook-up at their house in Amarillo where we stay in the spring. Jim went to high school with Vickie and reconnected with her a few years ago at their high school reunion. Duston was only 36 at the time of his passing. We packed up a few things, arranged to have our neighbor watch the rig, loaded up the car and left very early last Monday morning to drive to Amarillo to be with the family and help with cooking, cleaning, organizing and all the little things that needed doing with a house full of family at such a hard time.
I used my iPad to snap this picture of the sunset as we approached Amarillo around 8:30 Monday evening:
We stayed with Jim's cousins Shirley and Mike while we were there through the week. The Celebration of Life service was held on Saturday afternoon, and there was a luncheon before the service which we helped prepare and serve at the church. It was a very moving and beautiful service, but a hard day to get through.
During the week, there were warm days early on, but by Saturday the temperature in Amarillo had dropped dramatically and we even got some snow. We left Amarillo to begin the return trip on Sunday morning when it was 10* with snow on the ground. We spent the night in Shreveport and finished the trip today. When we got back to the Plantation this afternoon, the temperature was 76*. It feels great to be home, but we still send our thoughts and prayers to Vickie and Don, they have some very hard times ahead.
Now it's time to look forward to our very first-ever participation in Mardi Gras. We've always left this area before the festivities, so this will be a new experience for us. Rainbow Plantation goes all-out for Mardi Gras, plus there are numerous local parades and parties to consider.
It will take us a few days to get settled back into our routines and get the place cleaned. We may have to borrow the mower and trimmer again, too, seems the grass has grown a bit....