Christmas and Birthday 2016
December 25-26, 2016
Day 1, Sunday, Christmas Day, to Craig’s Castle in Stockton
It was Christmas time once again and time to be with family. We would retrace the same visits we made at Thanksgiving just a month ago. We planned to spend Christmas day with Craig and Laura and the kids, Breanne, Brett, Carly and Michael. Darren, Ashley, Jeremy and Stephanie would drop in after the big dinner. The next day, our birthday, we would drive up to my twin sister, Gale’s, in Gridley and celebrate our 73rd birthday together. Yep… we just keep getting older!Cecil the Diesel parked for Christmas day and night at Craig’s Castle.
As usual, the holiday meant FOOD and lots of it! There was lasagne, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, and more. Dessert included pecan pie, pumpkin pie, candy of every type, banana bread, and I can’t remember what all.
Opening presents ’til Santa was downright broke!
A crossbow for Gramps!? Yep…
The family at dinner and what a feast it was! (L to R: Laura, Carly, Brett, Michael, Breanne, Craig, Lavonne, and Tom Selleck.)
Dinner was served in the Walters tradition; it was to be at noon, then it was to be at 1300, and we finally sat down to the big feast at 1400. It was worth the wait! During the course of the afternoon we also exchanged entirely too many gifts.
The day was very pleasant, but Craig and Brett left around 1600 to fly to Denver to spend a few days with Allen and family. The early evening was just Breanne, Laura, Lavonne and I. And as usual, I spent much of the evening aboard the coach writing and seeking peace and quiet. Lavonne joined me when Laura and Bre left for their separate evening happenings. We spent the night as usual, on the computers and me watching TV. I watched Driving Miss Daisy for the umpteenth time and enjoyed it as much as ever. It is a classic!
I finally called it a day around 2230 and headed off to bed. Lavonne hit the sack long before I did and no doubt needed the rest. She works too hard on these family gatherings and especially Christmas. We slept well in the cozy coach in spite of the cold night outside.
Day 2, Monday, our 73rd birthday and a drive to Gridley to celebrate
We were up and about around 0600, and all alone for the first time at Craig’s Castle. We’ve always enjoyed coffee with Craig and Bre or others when we’ve stayed over, but everyone was gone that morning! Honestly, this family has so many things going on that we can’t keep up with it all.
We worked through the morning chores and dawdled away much of the morning. We didn’t want to arrive at my sis’s place ’til after noon, so we took our sweet time getting around. As usual, we spent much of the time on the ‘puters.
Still handsome after all these years… and still attracting the babes, too! Lavonne and I pose in the coach as we while away the morning of my 73rd birthday. That scarf was a Christmas gift, and the shirt I’m wearing was my birthday gift from Lavonne.
Click on any photo to enlarge ’em all and read captions:
Around 1000 we readied the coach for travel and headed north on I-5 toward SR99 and Gridley.
We stopped at the Love’s Travel Plaza on I-5 near Lodi to fill up the propane tank. I thought it was nearing empty; the indoor gauge said empty and the tank gauge said less than a quarter of a tank. As it turned out, we had about 10 gallons left. So much for gauges, I guess. Once it says empty I’ll know there are 10 gallons left!
As we drove through the rural areas along SR99 we enjoyed the thousands of birds that have taken over the dormant rice paddies. They may seem dormant to us, but they must be alive with bugs and other munchies for all those birds!
Click on any photo to enlarge the set and read captions:
While the traffic on that day after Christmas was heavy, we moved along without delay all the way to Gale and John’s place near Gridley. I supposed that half the traffic was people returning gifts from Christmas. Ugh. I think I’d keep an ugly sweater if it were me instead of fighting those crowds!
While driving through the farmlands of the valley, I had a call from Craig and the whole Walters tribe who were celebrating Christmas together in Greenwood Village, Colorado. They were apparently celebrating my birthday, too! So here they are, singing with great gusto and moderate talent, the once lovely Happy Birthday song!