We’ve already received our “I’m b-a-a-a-ck!” wake-up call from Old Man Winter, but Mother Nature was kind enough to give us a little reprieve so we could get out and deck the outside halls without numbing our fingers. Strands of broken and useless lights were replaced by new ones at our house. We should be pretty sparkly.

Even had the time and the temperature for one last paddle on the Upper Cuyahoga on Veterans Day. The scenery was vastly different from high summer, but had its own beauty, and a nice hint of wood smoke in the air.

One of the best Black Fridays we ever had was the day we handed out the advertising flyers from the newspaper to everyone at the breakfast table and tried to find the most useless Christmas present ever. It generated a lot of laughs. I can’t remember what won, but the electric nail polish dryer was in the running. Obviously, people have forgotten how to wave their hands.

Stepped out the front door the other day and a huge flock of Canada geese flew honking right over my head. Heading south, of course. Smart birds.

The kids are always asking what we want for Christmas. I have a philosophical problem with coming flat out and requesting certain things, but my resolve has crumbled in recent years. My previous system was to float ideas out throughout the year. Didn’t seem to work. Even I didn’t remember what they were half the time.

Love the seasonal arrivals—pomegranate, rutabaga, Clementines, chestnuts. And I’m eager to make my first pot of stew. Nothing like it on a cold evening.

We bought a new electric blanket. We like to sleep with the window cracked and that warm nest sure beats freezing cold sheets!

Despite the fact that stores have been playing Christmas songs for weeks, I’m waiting until after the great feast of Thanksgiving to start singing along. But just to get the ball rolling, here are a few you won’t find on anybody’s iPod:

Bring a torch, Jeanette Isabella,
Someone swiped my spotlight again . . .

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle with good cheer.
The mailman’s bringing cards and gifts
So keep that mailbox clear.

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember those mosquitoes
Have finally gone away. . .

Snowplows we have heard on high,
Gently rumbling down the lane
And snow mountains to the sky
Give my back an awful pain.

Christmas is a’comin’, ‘tis the season of good will.
Please to put a dollar in the store clerk’s till.
If you haven’t got a dollar, a five or ten will do.
If you’re broke, they’ll send a basket and a “God bless you.”

I’ll be home for Christmas.
You can count on me.
Cleveland’s ice and blowing snow
Cut down the visibility. . .

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