This is the time of year when my heart is most torn between missing the Christmas pleasures of Colorado (the Anthem-Aires holiday program at church, a performance of Duke Ellington's jazzy Nutcracker Suite by my son Gregory's University of Colorado jazz band down at Dazzle) and savoring the Christmas pleasures of Indiana. I'm trying to do more of the latter than the former, as I'm working and living in Indiana for two more weeks before flying home to Colorado for winter break, and if I get a choice between feeling sad and feeling happy, I might as well go with feeling happy.
So here are my holiday pleasures so far this weekend. Well, not all of these are holiday pleasures; some are writing pleasures, or fun-with-friends pleasures. But they are all Indiana pleasures, and they are all pleasant indeed.
Yesterday morning I lolled around for a bit with my housemate Julia and her little boy Alex and then headed off to the annual cookie sale at Gobin church, on campus. For four dollars I purchased an empty small coffee can covered with Santa Claus wrapping paper and donned a plastic glove. Then I walked up and down the long table filled with dozens and dozens of different kinds of homemade Christmas cookies and filled my can to the brim.
Next I went on a writing research jaunt to check out the historic general store in the tiny town of Cataract, around 20 miles away. Julia and Alex came with me. I'm groping toward a book that is set in rural Indiana, with some scenes occurring in a general store in the past, so this was a trip I've been meaning to make for months. Plus, the store was for sale - might I want to buy it and begin a whole new life as an Indiana shopkeeper? I've pretty much decided against this career change, but did purchase an enormous pickle for fifty cents from an old-fashioned pickle barrel, as well as 24 candy sticks for my class party coming up this Friday (details to come!).
After that I was off to the Putnam County Museum for some more research, where I purchased two books, one a series of vignettes on Greencastle history and one a collection of period photographs. I spent the next couple of hours reading them at the Blue Door Cafe while eating a huge slab of their unbelievably good bread pudding.
Then it was time to meet my friend Rachel for dinner at Almost Home, where we were regaled by holiday carolers from the College of Music - then off to Gobin Church for the Exalt Gospel Choir concert/worship service, and then off to the Green Center for the Performing Arts for the campus Holiday Gala, where I heard the funniest-ever rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (complete with an increasingly strained thank you note read aloud for each unwelcome gift).
Today so far I've had pumpkin waffles for breakfast with Julia and Alex and two of Julia's history department colleagues, and worship for this first Sunday of Advent at Gobin Church, and shortly we'll head off to the children's museum in Terre Haute for the four-year-old birthday party of the beloved daughter of other dear friends.
So even as my heart is breaking over missing out on the sweet joys of Christmas in Colorado, it's full to bursting form the sweet joys of Christmas in Indiana. And in the end, I'll get to have plenty of both.