still have traditions like the Thanksgiving Eve
lighting of the Christmas tree at my neighbors across
the street, The Ritz Carlton, to jump start my holiday mood. With 90 degree days in the not very
distant past one needs a wake-up call to realize that it is indeed winter and time for "The Holidays"
and this does it for me. Inside the decorations are definitely up to Ritz standards, and Children
are all dressed up to greet Santa in their Christmas best.
Of course being
the beach and a former pirate stronghold instead of the
House we have our "real" Gingerbread Pirate Ship instead. Traditions adapt.
|A touch of Thanksgiving and seasonal elegance Ritz style is also around.|
When my friend
Sandy and I arrive the festivities are in full swing with one of the
choirs performing. Loved the kid in the middle top row, -his enthusiasm was contagious.
When the pretty
lady sang a beautiful traditional Christmas Carol this young man was so
that I just could not risk breaking the spell with a flash.
silky voice began the strands of "Here comes Santa Claus" all
eyes turned to the South
and the sounds of the clip clop of the carriage horse.
To the delight of
the whole crowd, grown ups and children alike, the traditional
characters of Christmas
came to usher in the night's festivities and to magically, (ok, flip the switch), light the tree.
The instant the
tree was lit we were treated to the Ritz's traditional present to the
community, a wonderful
display of fireworks on the beach behind the tree.
fireworks nut that I am it is probably the real reason I trek across
the street for the
In trying to
position myself to get Santa's photo I lost my usual spot to get both
the tree and the
fireworks in the same shot. Now the crowd had closed in on my best spot and not daring
to trample a little one in my eagerness to get the best place, I was content with half a tree.
But it is always
a very tropical thing to get a palm tree silhouetted against the
fireworks lest we
forget for a moment that we are not in a Currier and Ives New England Christmas Card.
Clauses take time to chat with the children lined up at the
carriage. Hopefully they were able
resume their "fishing trip" vacation here on the island before making their appearance on Saturday via
pirate ship at the marina in the Historic District. They were to then head over to Yulee; I'm sure
such a hectic schedule makes Santa wish there could be two of him. I certainly hope he caught lots
of fish and got some rest in spite of all the personal appearances. At least this year he didn't have
to parachute into the Ritz. After a few dunkings in the Atlantic he renegotiated that tradition.
Leaving the lawn
without my hot chocolate but with a fist full of cookies I can finally
get a full frontal
view of the tree and if it were lighter you would see the ocean behind.
|Across the lawn the palm trees and shrubs were wrapped in many colored lights.|
|What I had thought were beds of Poinsettia's were actually similar colors of Coleus but still very pretty.|
The front side of
the Ritz was equally beautiful in a more elegant statement of white
lights. Being the
wild artist I am, I appreciate the white but love the chaotic blaze of the multi colors.
For one of the
few times in my history I did not do a lot of cooking for
Thanksgiving. I baked some
Southern Pecan and Pumpkin Pies to not have the stove totally cold. At least I wasn't exploding
Pyrex this year. I hope that I never eat as much again in one day the rest of my life. A traditional
Thanksgiving dinner (lunch) with part of my family at my sister and her boyfriend George's house.
It was a feast of turkey, ham and all the trimmings. Then over the bridge and through the
woods to our friends Debra and Nancy's home on the marsh side of Fernandina Beach. The sun was
low, turning the marsh golden, hence the term "The Golden Isles".
Now for the non-traditional meal...Paella...yum, yum; -whose construction is chronicled below.
Not only was this
a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal it was a work of art in both beauty
and in taste.
Paella has always been one of Bruce's favorite foods since his years as a teeny bopper in Spain. The
dish has as many recipies as it has people cooking it. It was considered the food of the common man
as many of our culinary delights were, especially fishermen and was made with the ingredients at hand
and whatever they caught that day. There were certain time tables on the adding of different ingredients
and Debra had practiced by watching videos, ordering a real Paella cooking device, and doing a dry
run on prepping for this feast.
It was great fun
to watch the masterpiece under construction and to smell the aromas as
to fill the lanai.
Worthy of its own
portrait; such perfection in color and taste that I could see the
beginning of a new
forgotten thing. Nothing to crack the Crab claws, however
Nancy was on top of the situation
by hastily retrieving and washing up the Channel Locks from the tool box. Where there is a will,
there is a way.
With both a
traditional and an non traditional Thanksgiving meal it made me most
thankful for family
and friends who blessed me with such a great treats so vastly different.
Now I am off to the "Y" to try to work toward redeeming myself from such decadence.
Those of you who know anything about my family know that I have a Physician's Assistant brother, Mike, who
Likes to take off to some unusual places to offer medical aid. Previously I sent you photos of his trip into
Afghanistan to help earthquake victims in a very remote part of the country. He has just returned from a very
rugged trip to Nepal where after about an 8 hour jeep ride they set out on foot to travel the last of about
130 miles back into some very remote villages to offer medical assistance to people who live there, many whom have never traveled outside their immediate area. Follow the link below to see photos of his ministry. This is an automated slide show, sit back at watch:
Also the Whale Watchers started flying watch today monitoring Right Whale activities in our area which
is their winter home and their birthing ground...so if you are on the beach, keep your eyes on the water; you
just never know when you will see a very large black thing that might be a whale. New England
Aquarium's BlogSpot offers more whale reports which should start soon from the island.