Winter this year in NH, as in coastal ME last year, started with a bang. Snow before Thanksgiving is never welcome. We had about a foot of wet heavy stuff. The lake was ice-covered by then.
December brought a crazy mixture of temperatures. We had 10 deg nights, snow flurries, and then a week later 55 deg days and heavy rain. By Christmas, most snow had disappeared, and some lawns were looking suspiciously green – enough to make you think April had arrived! Cruel! In the last few days of December, temperatures dropped, and now the lake is solid ice again after 10 deg nights and 20 deg days. Next week is forecast to bring 5 deg night and 15 deg days. January is our coldest month.
Our church’s Christmas Fair and Tea started December off well. Marian helped make wreaths, and then managed a table during the Fair. I spent the afternoon in the kitchen sink, trying to keep up with the steady stream of people who preferred eating to shopping! We spent one happy morning helping to decorate the church for Christmas, and a weekend decorating our own “new” home for our first Christmas here.
And so Christmas came! Dave & Xin decided to come up from Brooklyn, but could not leave until mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve. I feared it might take them hours to clear the city, but in fact they were here comfortably by mid-evening. It was dry and mild, and Marian and I enjoyed our first Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at our new church home in Gilmanton. By 9pm we were ready to start on our traditional Christmas Eve feast: many cheeses, sausage rolls, mince pies, Christmas cake… with several good wines and beers to accompany. All very Brit stuff! We slid into bed at 1am and slept soundly.
Nobody stirred early on Christmas Day, but the dogs finally made it clear that they wanted to eat! So we drifted into two days of gift-giving, reading (always plenty of books among our family’s gifts!), and eating as we felt moved. A turkey was roasted, and two friends from church joined us for a plentiful feast late on Christmas afternoon. Dave and Xin and their dog left on Saturday afternoon, and Marian and I shed a silent tear as we remarked on how quiet the house now was!
After what seemed like a week of Saturdays, Sunday came, and I preached while our Pastor took a well-earned after-Christmas vacation. Sunday evening a church family hosted the annual choir party, we greeted our friends once more, and endured the infamous “Yankee Swap.” By Tuesday it was time to join the work party to take down the Christmas decorations at the church.
Now it’s New Year’s Eve, and January 2015 lies before us. Paul has started a new carpentry project. The church Nominating Committee is recruiting people to serve in the coming year. It looks as though Marian and I will both find ourselves busy on committees. We’re already planning a short visit to Long Island and Brooklyn later in January! But it’s been a good “first Christmas” here, and we are thankful.