Joy to The World

Greetings my friends. Deck the halls and fill the air with joyous wonder! It is that time of year once again when the days are short the evenings long and the spirit of the season fills our hearts with happiness and the hope of kindness to all and yes – Joy to the world. This will be a special Christmas for us. We will be entertained by both our grandsons – ages 2 1/2- as well as our grand dog. In an unrestrained flight of fancy we obtained a Christmas tree that has needles which if history is any guide (revisit 2016/12/27 entry – How Bob saved Christmas) should last us several more years. Such is the madness which visits itself upon those who avidly anticipate a frantic future of fun-filled frivolity fashioned from a foolish yet fickle fondness for fabulous figments of ones imagination fabricated following freakish fits of fundamentally flawed fantasies fraught with a ferociously fanatical fascination with firs! Joy to the world – let’s buy a tree! Which is what we did. It is a fine upstanding young tree having spent its early years in rural North Carolina frolicking with arboreal delight amongst it’s fellow evergreens. Like others of it’s generation it was prematurely called to serve and was cut below the knees before experiencing first love, all in order to bring joy to households much like ours all over the world. It’s short life valued at $10 a foot – is the best explanation for our 3 1/2 foot tree!

We began the year with our move south and after what we felt was a long wait we finally connected with an architect that we liked. Upon first meeting her she asked if this was going to be our “Forever Home?” I believe we responded that we hoped it would be. As the days pass it is becoming clear that she was suggesting that it might take forever for our home to come to completion. I think you’ll like what we’ve done with it so far. We are adapting it to a style that we call “Art Wreco” and are thus far unconcerned that it may lack that certain Je’n sais quoi which appeals to the discerning home exchange crowd.

We have spent a year with unpacked boxes and yes, most of our belongings are now back in storage but we have rented a nice little house, fully furnished, right around the corner from our “project.” Today in preparation for the holidays we picked up a turkey and upon reading the fine print discovered that when cooking a turkey in unfamiliar surroundings it is essential that one use a meat thermometer in order to ensure the survival of your guests. We have accumulated several meat thermometers over the years due to our meat always being of uncertain temperature and in locations remote from where our previously purchased thermometers resided. Upon querying Susan as to the whereabouts of our many meat thermometers it was disclosed that they are somewhere in storage, which short of an archeological expedition would be impossible to disinter for several months. For this I can only blame myself. At least one of our collection has a convenient pocket clip which, had I been thinking, could have been clipped to my shirt pocket this last year in anticipation of the upcoming holiday or for that matter for use any time I wanted to check the heat of my meat……… Something odd about that sentence. What is more odd is the fact that some meat thermometers actually do come with a pocket clip!

Another of the reasons we were at the grocery store to get a turkey was the result of a decision not to go with venison this year! Despite the cute little morsel that she is!

Today was also Thursday, Senior Day, at our favorite grocery store in Fernandina Beach! Once one has attained a certain relationship with time, in addition to not feeling out of place with a meat thermometer proudly displayed in your shirt pocket, one is entitled to 5% off all purchases. Yes it is like black Friday every week. Long lines at the pharmacy, shoving matches near the prune juice and the sound of metal on metal in the parking lot! Today in order to expedite our visit Susan chose to go the self checkout route. Due to a bad relationship with touch screens I never enter the self checkout area alone but Susan is fearless and likes to do her own bagging. Also, antlers seem to give her confidence. However, today after about the seventh “Help is on the way” message we knew the attendant well enough to invite her for Christmas dinner. What at first glance looks like a machine putting someone out of work is on any given Thursday in Florida about the best job security there is! And we saved $11.88 ……………but forgot the meat thermometer. Joy to the world!

Don’t ya wonder where he parked his car?

Must have also been senior day at the beach. Apparently this poor guy couldn’t find a parking spot! “Help is on the way!” The availability of a meat thermometer is also useful in checking for signs of life!

Life is good. Cameron is letting us watch his dog while he’s cavorting with his girl friend in Thailand and Bali. Once you’ve gotten used to not having a dog you forget that they love people. They love people to play with them, walk them, feed them, clean up after them and most certainly love to demand attention precisely when you’d like to concentrate on just about anything. Aside from acting as a living bundling board allowing Susan and I nocturnal alone time, Obie is really a nice dog and as unlikely as it sounds I am enjoying our time together. He loves to chase tennis balls and I’ve got to hand it to him, no matter what he’s doing he will stop and let me throw balls for hime with no complaint – all day -and yes in the dark. Somehow he finds them. You probably didn’t picture me as an after dark tennis ball thrower. Oh yes……But my favorite place to do the ol’ toss is at the beach. Fortunately this time of year the crowd has thinned out so we have lots of room to run.

Here’s a little known fact. A tennis ball mixed with a little sand and a whole lotta dog saliva can weigh up to 71/2 pounds. That’s one slimy, stringy, little treasure to put your hand around. It’s also why Susan is outfitted in all-weather gear.

Moving on. Thank you all for following along with our misadventures for the last year. You have given me reason to be alert to the humor in all that surrounds us and most of all to be able to laugh at ourselves as we stumble through this life together. My wish for all of you is time to find joy and immerse yourself in the warmth and goodness of this holiday season. We have all become scattered tribes which at this time of year is felt more acutely and awakens us to the realization that as the world gets smaller, we get farther apart. Because of family and friends like you – old ones and all the new ones we’ve been lucky to find here – we have riches beyond measure…………. I have more than most because I live with a dog and a reindeer!

Joy to the World! Joyful all ye nations rise!

Most sincerely, Grumpa


  1. Rob

    I don’t know how it got here but one of your meat thermometers is here so, if you want to check the heat of your meat I’ll bring it.🍗

  2. jhough658

    Merry Christmas Jim – LOVED your “Joy to the World” edition of GU.

    Keep smiling!

    We’ll have all four “kids” here by noon tomorrow (two are bringing girlfriends; one her fiancée) plus two “bonus” dogs.

    Sunday we host “Jeff & Marlea’s 18th Annula Chili Party”. We’re expecting about 60 people -talk about a full house!

    So we’ve brewed up Green Chili (pork), White Chili (chicken), two variations of traditional Red (beef) Chili, Vegetarian and Veninson Chili’s. I’ve made four pounds of Norwegian Gravlax, and we’ll have an eight-pound shrimp platter. That doesn’t count three or four other appetizer platters and countless Christmas cookies, three cases of wine and a quarter-barrel of Christmas Ale from our local brewery. And, of course, people show up with platters of goodies and additional libations.

    Should be fun! Friends and colleagues from work,neighbors and their guests, and (since all our kids are here) a ton of younger folks home for the holidays. The more the merrier.

    Enjoy you family – we sure will!

  3. jmccutch

    A little uneasy when anyone else worries about the heat of my meat. I already got a replacement but it lacks the pocket clip

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