Sunday, November 25, 2007

Observations from a Girl in the South

The days of 2007 are ticking away. It is the end of November and, as I've already mentioned, Christmas with all it's trimmings is almost upon us. It is hard for me to get into the swing of the season when the Southern temperatures haven't gone much below 75 degrees.

A few weeks ago, the weatherman talked about an earlier than normal freeze. The temperatures may have dropped during the night, but the days have stayed warm. There is nothing like autumn to help one make the seasonal transition. A few sycamore trees in our neighborhood have dropped dried up leaves; none of which had much color. Some turned yellow, a few made it to an orangey red stage. Mostly they turned brown and landed on the ground.

Remember the theme from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head?" Because my neighborhood is full of oak trees, and it is true that from little acorns might oaks will grow, we've had weeks of "acorns falling on my head, and on my roof, and on my car. They are everywhere.

I'm sure if I was a better, more inventive cook, I could think of some kind of someting to make with the little buggers. If I was more crafty, I could glue them into some kind of homey decoration. Alas, all I can manage to do is step on them with bare feet. O-U-C-H! Acorns are obviously round, which makes them bruise the bottom of your foot when stepped on in just the right way. But the real hurty thing about stepping on acorns is that they have a pointy end. When your driveway is full of the premature oak trees it becomes a mine field - not fun like a pile of leaves.

I walked through the garden shop of Target today. There were a few Christmas trees that we all know didn't come from anywhere near Florida. Undoubtedly they will drop most of their needles before the 25th of December because of the heat and early cutting. But at least they weren't spray painted green. Curiously, there was a smell of pine in the air. And rosemary. Apparently rosemary trees, a la Martha Stewart, are going to be popular this year.

I have to be careful what I ask for. It's been known to snow in Jacksonville, so I don't want to press my luck. I'm not dreaming of a white Christmas. I would, however, like a cool yule. I want to be able to wear sweaters decorated with sequined ornaments, and turtleneck shirts and warm, wooly socks. I'd love to have a fire in the fireplace, without having to turn on a fan to even out the temperature.

I know Christmas can happen without all the Hollywood trappings. We don't need to have snow or trees or crackling fires to enjoy the real "reason of the season." It's what's in your heart that's important. It's the spirit of charitable giving that brings the holiday to life.

I wonder if reindeer like acorns. IPerhaps I could make a little North Pole stew and season it with rosemary. I think I'll put that on my list of things to do in the next thirty days.

Merry ME

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