Music enlivened our November this year!
It started with The Daughter’s District Chorus audition (which was successful), to my rehearsals and performance with the choir at St. John’s, Hampton, of the Faure Requiem for All Saints Evensong, to several Bellissima performances of our “Rejoice!” program in churches and retirement facilities, to The Daughter’s performances with the Jazz Band at the opening of a jewelry store mid-month, then a mission performance by the YMV Bands at Williamsburg Landing Retirement facility and finally culminated with YMV Choir performances at the Founder’s Inn Grand Illumination on the first Sunday of Advent! Whew!
Somewhere in there we bundled up and pitched tents for an AHG campout! Usually the older girls in our AHG troop have their own campout in mid-September. Because of all of the rain, and the standing water (hence mosquitos) at the park, the girls voted to put it off until early November. We were a little worried when the weather predicted night time temperatures in the low thirties, but everyone packed plenty of layers and blankets and hats and gloves – so everyone stayed warm! I camped out with them on Friday night and had a wonderful time, walking on the beach at dusk, looking at the stars, listening to the girls sing, and helping out in whatever way I could. We have excellent outdoor camping leaders so I just followed directions like everyone else!
A favorite recurring, and festive November commitment is volunteering with our AHG troop at local churches who serve as drop-off locations for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. We only worked two days this year, but it was nice to re-connect with volunteers we met last year. The girls greet people that bring in filled shoeboxes, and after counting and making sure they are labelled properly, help pack the shoeboxes into the shipping crates. The goal is to fit as many shoebox gifts into the shipping crate as possible. Of course, shoeboxes come in many shapes and sizes. And a recent trend is to use plastic shoebox-sized bins in lieu of traditional cardboard shoeboxes, so the recipients have water proof storage for their gifts. In any case, all of the variety results in a bit of a packing puzzle! Then, there is a fun burst of energy when someone arrives from a local church with literally hundreds of shoeboxes! All in all, it’s a great experience.
Our troop also collected shoeboxes, so The Daughter packed two for girls ages 10-14. She picked out colored pencils, watercolors, crayons and sketch pads, sewing notions, thread and fabric, the usual hygiene items (toothbrush, soap and washcloth, comb, manicure kit), and added in a few fun girly things. American Heritage Girls across the nation had a goal of collecting 21,000 shoeboxes, and exceeded that goal by collecting over 24,000 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Thanksgiving has become a familiar, happy, and somewhat easy-going ritual. For the turkey, Mr. Garner chose a Southern Living herb rub this year, in lieu of our usual apple cider brine. We had yummy Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Dressing, mashed potatoes with Mr. Garner’s fabulous gravy from the turkey drippings, my beloved Cranberry Chutney, Grandma Midge’s deviled eggs, roasted root vegetables and brussels sprouts, and rolls, with Grandma Midge’s pumpkin pie for dessert. After dinner and talk and coffee and pie, The Daughter and I took Grandma Midge home via a slow meandering route to enjoy early Christmas lights, while the menfolk watched The Game. (Dallas beat the Redskins…so the Garner men were extra thankful. Papa Gene was gracious, as usual.)
Grandma Midge’s birthday nips at the heels of Thanksgiving, as does the Grand Illumination performance at Founder’s Inn, so we celebrated the First Sunday of Advent, and then headed out to hear the Junior and Middle School choirs sing (and The Daughter accompany– if you fb) and then the Concert Choir sing, and then out to Pungo for a celebratory dinner at Rigoletto’s. I won’t say how old she is, but we are certainly grateful to be celebrating Grandma Midge!
On my reading list this month: The Long Roll, by Mary Johnston is proving an excellent choice. At the Still Point ended along with Ordinary Time, and I picked up Light Upon Light which will inspire me through the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. I also started Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, by William Bryant Logan. I learned so much from his book, Oak: The Frame of Civilization, that I assigned portions of it to The Daughter for her nature read. I’m enjoying Dirt, so far as well.
Not the best quality, but here is a video of one of the Jazz Band numbers – a medley from Charlie Brown Christmas from one of their mall performances.
A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”