The True Meaning of Christmas

We have currently camped out once again at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, because unbeknownst to us, Christmas is a very popular time for RVing. We wanted to stay at New Brighton or Sea-cliff in the Santa Cruz area, but everything was filled up.

Callie loves it here and as I write, the murder of crows is cawing and cackling overhead high up in the oak trees, and Fred and Michael are listening to the Warriors game in his RV. During the game, Michael and I took a quick break and ran over to the “free Christmas meal” provided by the city of Monterey to those in need. Restaurants and local chefs team up to provide a hot meal on Christmas Day to those less fortunate. We were immediately humbled by the large turn out of both hungry people and those helping the hungry.

The Community Holiday Dinner meal was served in one of the large warehouses on the other side of the fairgrounds, and Michael and I practically ran over there because it was almost 2 pm and that was when they would stop serving. The dinner was sponsored by the committee named after this event and the Food Bank for Monterey County. This special event has been hosted for 25 years and Thanksgiving for a whopping-35! We were told about the event from Ray, the host of the RV Park because he has been going to it for years. We were met with raucous Christmas music being played live by 2 musicians dressed up in Santa Claus outfits, and about 100 people or more eating merrily, while others were being served by volunteers lined up to help.

Smoked turkey, a roll with butter, dressing, yams, broccoli, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, donuts, cupcakes, coffee, and sodas were placed on long tables and served with enthusiastic and kind volunteers ready to pile up your plate with as much food as you wanted, and the food was absolutely free to those in need!

There were also tables filled with gently used clothing that people could pick through and select whatever they wanted to keep. Jackets and warm sweaters, shoes, and socks, pants and shirts for both men and women. There were a fair amount of homeless people pushing their carts with all of their belongings in them, and opinionated dogs guarding the carts. Many of the homeless appeared to know one another and were talking and laughing amongst themselves.

We were served our holiday meal and fit right in with most of the crowd, but we were more fortunate in that we could leave a donation and didn’t need free clothes or food. I also tried to compliment as many of the volunteers that I came into contact with and thanking them profusely for giving up their time over Christmas to help. This is what Christmas means to me, GIVING, and I was so happy to see this side of humanity being played out with dignity and respect toward the poor. Next year I want to be one of those helping to serve.

Tis’ the day before Christmas…

We have had one storm after another in Anza Borrego and it feels so appropriate for Winter Solstice. The temperature has dropped down into the high 30’s at night and we have had considerable rainfall. Trying to keep Callie entertained has become a little challenging but Lara, my daughter arrives today and the sun is suppose to return to the desert tomorrow. I love storms and these past few days have been impressive. I have managed to sneak Callie out into the backyard and up the olive trees in between showers. It is fresh and brisk out and Callie has needed a warm bed to take naps on and to sleep in at night. She has once again adapted to the situation and by placing her Kong housebed on the piano, she has a nice place to sleep and keep an eye on the festivities.  I am not a traditionalist and will be serving spaghetti and salad for dinner tonight. I have created my own tradition of not doing any one thing every year. Last year we were on an Alaska Airline plane back to San Diego from Maui. Our house was under renovation and uninhabitable. It wasn’t that far along when we returned after 3 weeks of being away. It was still uninhabitable but we managed. I am especially appreciative that this year I have a warm and dry house that is providing my family with shelter from the storm. Merry Christmas to all who read this blog. May 2017 be filled with peace and joy, health and wisdom. We are heading to Las Vegas for the new year and Callie will be tagging along. I can’t wait to write about her adventures in Vegas!

You Better Watch Out, Better Not Cry!

We adopted Callie in December of 2011 and have not regretted it since. She was an unexpected Christmas gift and after a month of trying to find her owners, we accepted her into the family as one of our own. She has such a big personality and reminds me of my deceased Jack Russel Terrier, Miss Adelaide. She acts more like a dog than a cat, but there is one very cat like trait that drives me nuts, and that is exploring inside the fireplace. She is convinced that the bird sounds she hears echoing through the chimney are worth pursuing and if I don’t have the opening closed up, she climbs inside and gets filthy dirty with soot and grime. When she finally gives up trying to locate the source of the bird song, she climbs back out and gets paw prints all over the house. I of course have to bathe her afterwards, and she complains quite bitterly when I do so, and she feels really sorry for herself and I can tell that she is embarrassd by her appearance. When she is soaking wet, she is very scrawny looking, and her tail resembles that of a rat, and she looks quite pathetic and appears to know it. She crawls under the bed to hide or sits in a corner and pouts until she is dry and fluffy again.  Does that stop her from climbing back up into the chimney? Of course not… But Christmas is coming Callie, and you had better watch out, better not cry, better not pout, I am telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.