Moo-rry Cow-ristmas: Letting Holiday Traditions Evolve

We’ve added a new tradition to our family Christmas: cow-catching.

Following the special breakfast, which I’d gotten up early to bake, and the gift-opening, which didn’t take that long since there are only four of us and we’re all adults now (despite the fact that my husband and I can still be pretty immature), and the mid-morning hike, and the preliminary, early-afternoon dinner prep, Son #2 and I took our dog for a walk. When we returned, we found cows in our front yard.

Lucy 1
Two of ’em. Well, one cow and one steer. (Hey, I’m a country girl, I know my farm animals.) Basic black–at least from a distance. Up close, the female turned out to be much more stylish. Her back was a nice russet color, her udder nearly white, and she sported a gorgeous red topknot–or would that be a cowlick?–on her forehead. We named her Lucy. Her escort, the steer, was a little plainer, and more shy. Bo, we decided. Bo kept his distance while Lucy accepted the carrot we fed her and licked our hands with her giant tongue.

My little family sprang into action. While I made phone calls to neighbors, then the sheriff, trying to determine if anyone knew whose cows these were, husband procured rope and Son #1 hid it behind his back while #2 distracted Lucy with another carrot. Soon she was tied to a handy telephone pole. (No attempt was made to capture Bo. Hey, we’re Washingtonians, not Texans. Real roping? Forget it.)

Unfortunately all our neighborliness went for naught. Despite someone from the sheriff’s office assuring me they’d find someone to “take care of it,” no one called us back. When darkness fell, we decided we couldn’t leave poor Lucy tied up all night, so we let her loose to find the feckless Bo, who’d ditched her. (I heard ’em walk past our bedroom window last night, so I guess she did, then returned hoping for another carrot snack.)

Lucy 2

We don’t have many Christmas traditions, we Wings. Extended family is too far away to visit, and we’re a pretty pagan bunch, so The Church of the Great Outdoors is where we go to “worship.” We always go for a hike or at least a walk, even if it’s raining sideways like a couple of years ago. Here are our others:

Preparing food, then eating it, that’s a biggie. (This year, Son #2 made the chocolate pecan pie; I was so proud!)

Playing silly games like Yahtzee or Bananagrams–check.

Watching dumb movies on TV–check. Last night we switched back and forth between Pirates of the Caribbean III and Ocean’s 13.

Calling far-flung family members and friends–check.

Ummm…guess that’s about it. I know I could feel more sentimental or nostalgic about our lack of special traditions. We don’t have special dishes that we use only on Christmas, or a special grace to say. We don’t even have one special meal that we always have.

We just enjoy each other’s company. That’s our tradition, and it evolves beautifully with our evolving ages. (The four of us now total 163 years, if that tells you anything.) These days both boys have been playing a lot of guitar, teaching each other new chords and strums. Who knows what it will be next year? More cows? Sheep, pigs? Bring ’em on. As long as we can catch them TOGETHER, it’ll be plenty traditional for me.

What about you? What are your favorite holiday traditions? Any new ones evolving? Do share!

Hug Your Kids, Hug Your Parents, and Leave Newtown Alone

I remember exactly where I was when the news reports started coming in one year ago: driving the Senior Center van, delivering lunches. I was doing the exact same thing today, and that horrible Friday, December 14 of 2012, came back to me.

The disbelief. The helpless grief. The fury, searching hopelessly for a valid target…only to turn back into grief.

I only think of the Newtown massacre periodically, because I have no real connections to it. I know how lucky I am. And that is why I hope fervently that the news media heed the pleas that Newtown community leaders have been issuing for the past couple of weeks, to please, please, please leave them alone for this horrible first anniversary of their tragedy.

One year later, I don’t want to talk about gun control or mental health. I don’t want to argue. All I want to do is send healing love to those poor, torn-up families, and to stay out of their way. And, since I’ve re-opened this well of emotion which is now overflowing again, I plan to “hug” as many virtual kids as I can this weekend.

My own grown sons I have recently seen (and hugged) and will (inshallah) see and hug again soon. So tonight I’m going to call and email my two “goddaughters,” and send some hugs via email to all my former students.



What should we do to remember the Newtown families? Hug our own. If your own family is not available to hug, hug someone else’s kid, or mom, or dad. Call someone. Email someone. Tell them how much you love them.

Hugs can’t heal everything. But they can keep us going even in the face of that knowledge.

If you have your own words of remembrance or comfort, please share them. Then go and hug.

Happy Thanksgiving From Wing’s World

From my world to yours…here are some wishes for all y’all:

  • That you are with someone you love right now
  • That you had enough to eat today…and hopefully not TOO much
  • That any pain you or loved ones might be suffering is outweighed by the love and hope you provide for each other
  • That you are able to feel thankful regardless of burdens
  • That you are able to help someone else
  • That you feel some hope for the world
  • That you feel you are making the world a better place–locally, globally, however you think about it
  • That you have a good book to read
  • That, when you take a shower, you feel thankful for hot running water
  • That you are taking care of your body that works so hard to keep you moving
  • That you aren’t spending too much of your Thanksgiving reading blogs like this
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

And now, my all-time favorite question: WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR???