Friday, January 01, 2010

Holiday Whirlwind

Christmas Eve at our church was a lovely service with carols, violin and trumpet solos, a children's sermon and quite a few visitors. A highlight was our newly formed children's choir (of 6-11 year-olds) singing "The Friendly Beasts," complete with solos for each beast. Precious.

Mom and Dad Rooster joined us for the service and for our traditional Christmas Eve Italian dinner afterwards--this year we ate at home. Their family tradition when Papa Rooster was growing up in New York was to go out; they always went to Peruna's in downtown Spring Valley, before Dad would leave for NYC and his job singing in the men's and boys' choir at St. Thomas Church for midnight mass. Sometimes the whole family went; I got to go one time back when PR and I were first engaged, and it's a great memory. Beautiful church, gorgeous voices--there's nothing like choir boys singing carols at Christmas!

Mom and Dad spent the night and Christmas Day with us, joining us for present opening, brunch (sausage/egg casserole, panetone, stollen, fresh pineapple and clementines), and dinner (ham, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, pesto salad, roasted asparagus, pecan pie). We listened to music, assembled Legos, talked, laughed, sang for one another, and practiced for the upcoming Talent Show.

On Boxing Day, we went to Brother Rooster's, in Chicago, along with Mom and Dad. We were all lured there not only by the fun of being together and exchanging gifts, but also by the promise of pizza that Brother had discovered, and which he claimed was just like Peruna's! (see full paragraph 2) Peruna's had closed by the time I met PR, so I can't comment, but Mom, Dad and PR all agreed with Brother Rooster, and everyone declared it awesome. We talked, laughed, and listened to music; the kids played with their cousin and watched a movie, and Brother Rooster and Blondechick made a recording of her singing the Beatles' "If I Fell" with Brother playing guitar and singing harmonies.

The next day we went to church, came home and ate all our Christmas Day leftovers, packed up our 15-passenger van, and headed off into the snow which was falling across IL and IN, enroute to my parents' home in OH, arriving around 11 p.m. Next day, Professor Brother's family joined us at my parents', along with Pilot Brother's family, minus Pilot Bro. They each have three little girls, so there were 14 young'uns swarming all over the modest ranch house I grew up in; it's a good thing my parents added on a great room years ago! The basement was always the best place to go, and this year, Mom and Dad had cleared off the ping-pong table as a bonus. My teens had never played, and they loved it! PR and I even got in a few rounds. Gifts were opened, news was exchanged, and meals were prepared and consumed. The Florida girls joined the Kansas and Wisconsin kids in the Ohio snow--and it was so good to be together. (Missed you, Pilot Bro!)

Then we spent a day traveling home and unpacking; the next day was New Year's Eve. We cleaned all day and took down our tree--before the 12 days of Christmas are over, I know! We were sad. But we had to clear space in our living room for a Talent Show--we needed seating space for 21 adults/teens plus 24 kids, mostly all from our church. We shoved our big leather couches to the edges of the room, pulled up chairs, had the kids sit on the rug and it worked out beautifully. Many folks came earlier for a potluck Soup Supper, with desserts and munchies galore--so yummy. We collected names and talents and planned a lineup for the show, with our younger performers going first. Four little girls sang "Away in a Manger," one little girl said a poem; a young man played a guitar piece and his sister danced and sang. A couple of adults sang, a couple more read or recited poetry that they had written, I recited/acted this poem. Blondechick and a friend hilariously performed "What is This Feeling"(a duet from Wicked), and Bantam10 and a friend sang "Why am I Me?" (a duet from Shenandoah), complete with harmonies and Southern twang. Blondechick also sang the Beatles' love song with her uncle's recorded accompaniment and her dad singing harmony. Finally, Papa Rooster sang a duet with his dad that they've been talking about performing together for years--"She'd Be Far Better Off With You" from Andrew Lloyd Weber's little-known Aspects of Love. (Thanks again to Professor Bro for the gift of the sheet music, many Christmases ago!)

It was so inspiring that one of our youngest guests asked to perform the Alphabet Song, which he bravely sang, nervously pulling his shirt up to his armpits halfway through. His performance "opened the mike," so to speak, and we had encore poetry and songs, as well as a recitation of the first 25 digits of pi and a surprise break-dancing exhibition! One dad was coerced by his family into reading for us, from Huckleberry Finn, an argument between Huck and Big Jim, and it was a treat to hear him do the dialects. We'll definitely want to repeat this event next New Year's Eve, or sooner!

Mom and Dad Rooster spent the night and we have low-key plans for New Year's Day today. Actually, no plans beyond French toast and sausages for lunch, and finishing up my 2009 booklist recap for tomorrow. (Tomorrow is another story; I need to work, preparing for the first day of theater classes next week--too soon!)

I wish you all a blessed 2010!

"For I know the plans I have for you,
plans to prosper and not to harm you,
plans to give you a hope and a future."

(Jeremiah 29:11)


Heather said...

The talent show sounds like such fun! My friends and I do a costume party each year. Glad to know you all had a great holiday season.

MomCO3 said...

How fun! I think there's a talent show in our future!