Joshua and I very much enjoyed Christmas Week in Oklahoma. We had a series of very nice visits with Josh’s family, members of whom dropped in all week. The weather in Oklahoma was unusually cold, and discouraged outside activity, so we stayed in all week—and probably drove Josh’s mother and father out of their minds.
A nearby tragedy occurred late on Christmas night: a family with four very young children was wiped out in a house fire. According to the local fire marshal, there had been no working smoke detectors in the home, which probably would have saved everyone in the household. The event put a pall over our week.
Josh’s sister came back to Minneapolis with us, and she will remain until Sunday. She thinks Josh and I are boring, but she also thinks we are “reliable”—and, she says, we have no irritating habits that get on her nerves. She likes the fact that we keep a clean house, and a kitchen well-stocked with food. She also contends that we are “undemanding”, low-stress, no-maintenance guys—and, therefore, providers of satisfactory companionship.
We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve. The men in my family went to the Minnesota-Michigan State game, which featured an early-afternoon tip-off, perfect for my nephew. The Golden Gophers closed the game on an eight-minute 20-4 run, and defeated Tom Izzo’s Spartans, 76-63. It was an excellent game, and a great start to the Big Ten season. The Golden Gophers are much better this year than expected, and have the potential to become Tubby Smith’s finest Gopher team. It was not until we arrived at Williams Arena that I realized that the Gophers are now ranked number nine (they had been ranked thirteenth the last time I checked).
Last night my mother served her Christmas carp, which she had been saving for Josh’s and my return from Oklahoma. It was a festive dinner, and a festive way to end the year.
Today my mother will give everyone a festive New Year’s dinner. I believe her plan is to build the dinner around a giant, specially-cured Virginia ham she ordered and has been preserving, waiting for the right occasion to use. I saw the ham yesterday. It was two feet long, perhaps longer, and appeared to be a stunning specimen.
The ham will drive the dog nuts today while it is baking.