Saturday, December 4, 2010

Step up for a sip of the Barr family tradition


She strains to listen to the silence over the sound of her heartbeat in her ears. No coffeepot percolating, she'd beat the timer again. Sweet.

"Hey," she whispers into the layers of blankets, "it's time,"
She doesn't want to know what the muffled words were - instead she pokes the blankets, "It's Christmas," she whispers, the excitement raising her voice a level. "Go wake them up."

"I did it last year, it's your turn," comes the reply.

"You do it better than I do and you know if I do it wrong Santa will take the presents back."

"Okay," comes the reply, punctuated by the blankets being thrown back, "you have to do it next year."

And off my little sister goes to wake up my parents on Christmas morning; after 39 years I can still get her to do it.

I'm Diane Barr and my book Out of the Shade - a naughty but nice urban fantasy - will be released in July 2011.

My earliest holiday memories include; food - traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings plus a lot of Polish dishes and mountains of homemade cookies of every shape and color.

Family, friends, laughter (spiked eggnog, grasshoppers and wine might of had something to do with this, LOL), loud cheers (and swearing) while watching the Chicago Bears on TV. Christmas Eve we'd take several cars to Michigan Avenue ("The Magnificent Mile") and look at all the Christmas lights and animated decorations in the store windows . It's a breathtaking and unforgettable experience and after my family moved to Wyoming, my dad would take us to look at the "country" style; where complete farmhouses and their surrounding trees and fences are lighted.

Christmas morning was/is a methodical process - my little sis wakes up the parents and starts the coffee pot while I plug in the tree and begin separating the presents and stacking them in our pre-selected places. We open presents from youngest to oldest and pose with each present (usually the ones we receive from the East Coast relatives).

We always have a battle over the Egg Nog pie that my mom makes - it is to die for and I'll gladly share the recipe if you're interested. I usually burn up an electrical appliance (either the hand mixer or the blender) I think all the pictures have been destroyed from the time I was mixing Grasshoppers (a shot of crème de menthe, a shot crème de cacao, a handful of ice and about 4 to 5 scoops of vanilla ice cream) in the blender and stuck a metal spoon in to loosen things up. Well, the frozen items, plus the metal spoon froze together and stopped the blender; separating the pitcher and the washer in the bottoms. Green grasshopper went all over the counter and I did the first that came to mind. Yep mouth to counter and slurp up/save the drink. My mom and sister grabbed glasses and tried to direct the flow of liquid into them but ended up doing the same as me. LOL.

When my kids were young my mom started one of my most favorite things - Line - up for Reddi-Whip in the mouth - yes, she'd spray Reddi-Whip into our mouths and based on how many Grasshoppers or other beverages were consumed is how accurate she would be with getting it in our mouths. Believe me, the smell of Reddi-Whip takes a while to leave your nostrils.

Though we aren't the most conventional with our traditions, they are so much fun and I look forward to the time I get to spend with my extended family; where love and laughter complete our blessed holiday seasons.

Out of the Shade


Rosalie Skinner said...

I have to say I have never had the um... pleasure of 'Reddiwip'. Not something I regret! Glad you didn't waste the grasshopper since an electric appliance gave its life to create the cocktail.
Lovely traditions. Happy Christmas!

Diane said...

Thank you!! You too!

Wendy said...

What a fun Christmas you are in for, Diane, if the past ones are anything to go by. I can see you licking up the drink. You wouldn't want to waste that one. I love your Mum. :) I like the idea of an egg nog pie. Have always wanted to serve eggnog drinks on Christmas Eve but am not sure if my cold egg flip with brandy is the real deal.

Roseanne Dowell said...

What a fun Christmas. Your family sounds much like mine (siblings growing up and my own kids, now grown). I too remember Dad taking us downtown to look at the animated window displays- a treat every year. I'd love the recipe for Eggnog Pie (rodow62 at yahoo dot com) Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

Unknown said...

Ah...a big fan of Reddi-wip myself. When you do the squirting, it's easier to aim. :) Thanks for sharing your family secrets. I enjoyed reading your post.

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

that sounds like a fun time. thanks for sharing.

Diane said...

Good morning everyone! Thank you for reading and commenting.

Would you prefer the egg nog pie recipe e-mailed individually or how 'bout I put it in the Holiday folder under the MusePub_Authors Group?

Have a great day!

Sara Durham Writer ~ Author said...

Diane, wonderful to hear about your Chirstmas traditions! I've never had a grasshopper before, but I just might have to try one. My boys are always nabbing the Reddiwhip and shooting it into their mouths!