If we’re in Dumfries, it must be Saturday.

We have been spending a lot of time in Dumfries, pronounced DUMBfrees not dumbFRYS like my husband says it. Today is The Big Day. We are moving half a ton of things into storage and another two tons into our basement, apparently. Not much goes into a 10×10 storage unit. Furniture that is not going to Granddad’s new apartment and boxes that will never see the light of day again (at least not our light of day) all have to be moved out of the house so the house will “show”. “Less is best.” Or so we have been told. Try telling that to an 82 year old man who just lost his wife of 55+ years and doesn’t want to move.

But. I digress.

My husband decided that Thanksgiving Day was the perfect opportunity to wrench his back. I think he stood up and breathed at the same time. That’s all we can figure he did to cause it. He is down like feather on a duck. Thankfully, we have a full contingency of favors we called in people lined up. So very thankful for them. *remember that the next time you ask, “is there ANYTHING we can do to help?”* And of course the muscles that are our three children and a variety of their friends.

Yesterday we needed a break from the packing and cleaning and sadness, and stuck to our annual Black Friday tradition. We headed to The Cracker Barrel at 8:00 am. There were thirteen of us. Miss Nina was our server and she was amazing. I had My Man chase down the manager (in his fastest my-back-is-out-hobble) to sing praises for Miss Nina and her helper. Seriously, the woman had skillz. She juggled our orders and plates and requests with ease while barking orders at the other servers. It was impressive. Anyone who has ever worked with the public knows that complaints are the norm and praises are few. We did some praisin’ on Miss Nina.

After we were all stuffed with pancakes (seriously, I have never seen some many pancakes consumed at one table) we hopped into four different trucks and headed West to Warrenton. After a stop at the Sheetz (if you live in the south, you have to stop at the Sheetz, no matter how long or short your road trip is), we turned right and headed toward the Shenandoah Mountains (the most gorgeous place in the whole wide world) and into Amissville. We have been getting our Christmas Tree at Glengary Christmas Tree Farm in Viewtown (coolest town name ever) since BK. We stumbled upon it one year when we couldn’t find the tree farm we had been to the previous year. Had to have been around 1986 or ’87. Shawn was born in 1990.

This year I decided we were all going to wear red scarves for our annual Christmas Card Photo op. And black shirts and blue jeans. Brilliant, I thought. STUPID and LAME were the thoughts of my three darlings. And yet, they all came down the stairs wearing black and blue as requested. I had totally prepared myself to pull a “I ask so little of you *sniff* and you couldn’t even do this one thing I *hiccup* ask and it’s CHRISSSSSTMAS” dramatization but, they came through. I was even willing to pull the “you know how broken my heart is” line but didn’t need to use any of it.

It was a stunningly beautiful day and, even though it really was like herding cats to get them all together and lined up and still and smiling for photos, they were amazing. And, suddenly, everyone wanted to wear the red scarves for their pics.

Trees were chopped down and plucked out of the shed (The Bryan Men chopped their tree…the spoiled Smith woman will only have a Frasier Fir in her house, which are cut down a few days earlier and brought up from the Glengary property in Blacksburg.)

On the way home, I thought to myself, ‘one day, we will be out here with our children and their spouses and our grandchildren.’

And the cycle of tradition will be complete.

Love you guys. See y’all tomorrow.

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4 Comments

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  1. Starting to think fresh needs to become our tradition. I break out every time I pull the artificial stuff out. Truly stinks because the decorating is my fave thing to do. Will have to wait a while though … no such thing as a fresh tree on this island! Just as you live vicariously through others thanksgiving menus, I'll live vicariously through your tree mission! love ya girl 🙂

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  2. As the leader of the Bryan men that “cut” our tree, we are blessed to have such incredible friends. We had a blast. In all the fun and excitement, the best part was talking to grandpa about being alone. During the conversation, I pointed out that yes, our spouses were not with us, but we were not alone and we are loved. It was a great day.

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  3. Jo…I will post a pic of the tree, nekked and all. As it will remain for awhile. My mom wants to see it. Truly a beautiful tree, but also a constant reminder of a day that has become a tradition for us with our own darlings and friends that are truly family!

    P.S. Miss you terribly!

    S

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  4. Mike, thanks for sitting in the sun amidst the chaos that is The Christmas Tree Farm! We love having the Bryan men along with us for our family outing. Since y'all ARE family now :). Granddad has a hard time seeing anything else other than himself. Always have. Maybe with the consistent reminders that he is NOT really alone and that he has so much TO be thankful, he will get it. Finally. I'm convinced that is why he is here and she is not. She got it.

    Love all of you Bryan boys.

    S

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