Christmas is a time when families like to get together, if possible. Yes, there are those who may not have much family but still enjoy being with others this time of the year. It is the need to be together.
Several experiences this past month caused me to think about getting together. In early December, David Marrison, OSU County Extension educator, gave an interesting talk on estate and succession planning at the Food and Ag Committee breakfast. One of the highlights of his talk was the need for families to sit down together and talk about their interests in planning the estate of the father and mother or other relative. Communication among family members is essential, David pointed out. Sitting down together is the first step in estate planning.
A week or so later, Henry Lipps, president of the Ashtabula Antique Engine Club, asked me to meet with a group of club members to discuss plans and needs for the coming year or more. As I listened to the interesting discussion from the group, there were some differences in what some felt were needs. That's normal in any group with a keen interest in what they want to do.
Yet this group was together with their ideas in so many ways. What they needed, and members were going to get, were more facts about the main ideas that surfaced from the group. One of the things that impressed me was the enthusiasm for their club and what they want to accomplish. Whatever they finally decide, they will get it done.
When groups - or families, for that matter - decide to get together, there isn't much they can't accomplish. To me, competition may make the news, but cooperation is what gets things done.
Each year we buy five-pound bags of popcorn from an Amish family we know for members of our family. It is excellent popcorn, and five pounds lasts for a lot of cold winter evenings.
We took a trip down Middlefield way to this Amish home to get the 15 bags. The mother, Annie, was the only one home and she had the popcorn ready. But it was heavy, and she wanted her sons to help me carry it to the car. So she went out on her porch and rang a bell hanging there to call them. No electronic device, but it worked well and didn't need much maintenance except for a new rope once in a while.
They were back scraping the snow off their pond so it would freeze thicker and smoother. This way, when they were getting ready to cut ice, it was frozen a bit thicker. They cut it in blocks, load it on a sled or wagon to haul up to their ice house to store for warm weather use. Three families use the ice, Annie said.
While they were coming up, Annie was showing me her new kitchen stove the family had bought her. It has a smooth, glossy top, and the wood was put in below through a front door. She said it would take enough wood to hold a fire all night and is very efficient. Ashes need to be taken out just once a week.
It was obvious that they are a family that likes to be together and will enjoy Christmas together. And our family enjoys their popcorn!
So no matter how you celebrated Christmas, I hope it was with family or friends. This can mean more than a lot of gifts and material things. Now we all have to move into the New Year with all the challenges it will bring.
May the new year be a good one for you!
Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune.