Somehow we have made it to the end of November in a year that will never be forgotten, the most difficult year in my memory. Mostly I am thankful that I and those I love managed to elude Covid, and I pray for those not so fortunate.
Life has gone on, albeit at a slower pace. My work-in-progress, So Long at the Park, is nearing the two-hundred page mark, but writing, too, is slow.
The craziness continues. Earlier his month the linden tree that shaded my house for about fifty years fell during a wind advisory. It smashed a section of my fence and the front of my neighbor's garage, totaling it.
The fence is now repaired, and the remains of the stump and a broken collie statue propped against it are one with the earth. I miss the tree, especially on bright mornings when it held the sunshine back from my bedroom window.
But life does indeed go on, and I'm thankful that no one was hurt and the houses weren't damaged. I won't replace the tree. My planting days are over.
My Christmas tree is now decorated. For years I set out a tabletop tree with smaller ornaments. Last year after Christmas I ordered a tall imitation fir. I can now decorate a tree with ornaments that haven't seen the light of day for over twenty years, and best of all, I can set up my large manger underneath.
It's been a pleasure to unwrap these old ornaments. I found a stained-glass wreath that my niece made for me when she was a little girl, along with a multi-colored creature that might be a mouse.
I also unwrapped the golden swan and the pear that I remember from my own childhood. I have vivid memories of my father holding me up to place them close to the top of the tree--always a real balsam in those days. The pear has lost its color, and the bird its feathers, but they're irreplaceable.
I'm not the only one decorating for Christmas early. I've already seen wreaths on doors and outdoor lights strung. People are starved for a bit of brightness to counteract the darkness of this year.
The weirdness of 2020 continues. In an entire large box I found only three ornaments with attached hangers. How could all these hangers have disappeared? And where is the package of hangers I bought last year?
Oh, well, I (along with Jennet) live for mysteries.
This year I have three new ornaments hand-painted by the very talented artist, Denise Grimwood Glova: three snow scenes on which Denise painted a collie in a different color. I didn't need more ornaments but couldn't resist these little treasures when I saw them on Facebook.
I wish I were writing a Christmas book at present, surrounded as I am by all the trappings and trimmings of the season--and the music. So Long at the Park is set in June when Jennet is free from school even though a threat follows her home to Foxglove Corners. I began with a collie, Black Rainbow, disappearing from her ex-pen during a crowded collie event and planned a somewhat vague course for Jennet to follow.
Then a dangerous real-life event right here in Michigan gave me another idea, and I took the book in a different direction, bringing in three characters from one of my novels of romantic suspense.
I'm still reading in the evening--book after book on my Kindle. Mostly these are Christmas-themed books like the charming Mackinac Island/fudge mystery by Nancy Coco, Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas.
If you can't travel to the island for Christmas, Nancy's book or any other in her popular "fudge" series is the next best thing.
I read Marja McGraw's new mystery, The Accidental Gumshoe, while Marja was writing it and heartly recommend it for fans of her Sandi Webster series. Marja brings back the innocence and subtle danger of the nineteen twenties and provides an entertaining mystery with lively young characters to go along with it. As she does with all her books, Marja adds a good dose of humor and romance to her plot.
I just finished a charming novela in the John Pickett series by Sheri Cobb South titled Nowhere Man. It isn't set during Christmas, but it's a variation on the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, with John thinking it would have been better if he'd never been born, and therefore qualifies as holiday reading.
We have now officially entered the holiday season of 2020. May we all find a little brightness and joys to counteract the darkness. Until December,