The Farmer's Wife: Christmas season is upon us


Every year, Christmas comes around faster, and every year, merchants begin preparations earlier. It does no good at all for me to complain about Christmas trees sitting among Halloween décor!

We had a lot of turkey left last week. I had turkey noodle soup a couple days, and there is quite a bit in the freezer. It will come in handy.

We appreciate the warmer weather, but continue to pray for moisture. It sounds like Wayne county will be getting some snow tonight. (Monday.)

The house that Cap and Bess Aldrich built in Elmwood is now 100 years old. So, of course, there are some things going on to observe that milestone. When I think of it being built in 1922, I marvel at the fact there was indoor plumbing, and a furnace in the basement, with a coal chute set in the foundation.

The house I grew up in was built about the same time and had neither feature. We heated with the cookstove in the kitchen and an oil burner in the dining/living room.  The bedrooms were cold!

The Aldrich house has the typical floor grates upstairs. The story is the house cost $7000 to build, and when Bess moved to Lincoln 24 years later, she sold it to the Clements family next door for the same price, because it was “not right to take advantage of friends.”

Eventually, the Clements gave the house to the Aldrich Foundation, and it is now open to the public. When I lived in Cass county, I volunteered there, giving tours. I also decorated the dining room in angels one year for the Christmas open house.  It's always great fun to see how each room gets “done up” by individuals or families or clubs for Christmas.  

So, Sunday eve, there was a special gathering for volunteers and dedicated members for a preview of the finery for this year.  Kay was my “Uber” driver, as I no longer drive at night. It was so good to see so many old friends,and to find I could recall their names!  

This time, for instance, the dining room featured Haviland china purchased from Omaha Crockery in 1930 for $54! And it is beautiful, and in good condition. The carpet on the downstairs floors has come up, revealing the narrow oak flooring so prevalent in that time. (Although the upstairs floors in the Farm House were pine; much cheaper, and they didn't show!)

Bess was a romantic, and her stories always ended well, sort of like Hallmark, but with a much more developed tension. And she loved Christmas, which is reflected in most of her books and short stories.

I'm going to try to remember this as the Advent season progresses.  “Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl.  But it warmed more than your body.  It warmed your heart...filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever.”  

I laughed through the travails of Kelsey Grammer in the 12 Days of Christmas last week; it took that many for him to get it right, and to “honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.” (Dickens)