On Sunday evening we were all gathered at my daughter Mary's house waiting to see if we would be lucky and get a visit from Father Christmas. Knowing that this week is the busiest for Santa, we were unsure whether he would make it to Radford.
It was a cold night and we had a hot cup of chocolate waiting for him. As the time passed on we wondered whether the snow was making it difficult for him but then we realized that with reindeer and a sleigh the snow should not be a problem.
We were close to giving up hope when there was a knock at the door and his familiar HO! HO! HO! call. We could hardly believe our luck. After saying his hellos to us and drinking his chocolate, Santa asked if we minded if he took a moment's shut eye because it had been a very tough day that had started long before dawn. We told him no problem and we all sat around keeping as quiet as mice.
It wasn't long before Santa awoke fully refreshed. Before opening his sack of you-know-whats, he told us about how busy he had been organizing everyone's presents and how helpful the elves had been. He said he had left Mrs. Claus busy preparing their Christmas dinner. He was very friendly and answered all our questions. He explained that the big crystal on his hat was to catch the light and send it to Rudolph's nose and that the bells on his shoes were so people knew it was him coming and not a robber.
He then spoke to each of us in turn. The smaller ones got to sit on his knee. He gave each of us a button carved from reindeer horn. To Michela, the youngest of us, he gave a button that had his face carved on it.
Everyone was delighted with their presents and we all agreed it could not have been a better visit. We stood at the front door of the house and watched him walk up the hill around the corner to where he had left the reindeer sheltered in a wood.
On Saturday when I was signing at the Museum, the Kate Collins School Jazz Band played for us. I am delighted when young musicians come to perform at the Museum. It is encouraging to see the dedication of our young who commit to the practice of the performing arts. The Kate Collins Jazz Band, although newly formed, already delights the ear. I hope we will see them back at a future Museum event.
This morning I am in Mathews and then this afternoon I fly to St. Petersburg to be with Malcolm over Christmas Day and the New Year.
As I said last week my thoughts and prayers will be with those less fortunate than ourselves and particularly for those who are grieving. Christmas joy is tempered by the knowledge that this is painful time for many.
Keep yourselves safe.