Thursday, February 9, 2012

Christmas in New England - Cabela's, Lobster Rolls, and Christmas Eve

Dec. 24 

This morning, I skipped breakfast in order to stay behind at the duplex to wrap gifts for tomorrow (Christmas) and Monday (when we're having Christmas with Sue's mother, Oggie).

When I stepped outside, the snow crunched crisply under my feet. A crystal-clear, sunny, very cold day. It was 12F. There wasn't much of a breeze as I happily walked towards the main house.

My husband had left before me, neglecting to take his hat, gloves, and coat. Really. How does one step outside and not notice these things? My hope was that he had: 1. Turned right instead of left when exiting our driveway; 2. Remembered which house he was looking for; and, 3. Not succumbed to the cold. Not necessarily in that order. I was a bit concerned, though he was wearing a thick flannel shirt, a wonderfully warm fleece vest, and heavy boots. I needn't have worried.

Sue pulled up in her SUV, told me Harry was snug as a bug at her place, and invited me to join her in a little expedition. Soon, the two of us were off to pick up lobster for tonight's sandwiches. Yum! You can't go to Maine and not eat lobster, right? (Jim also made an absolutely delicious Maine shrimp bisque to go with the sandwiches, which were lobster meat with the tiniest bit of Miracle Whip in a grilled bun. The bisque was a milk/potato/corn base with lots and lots of shrimp. Truly delightful. But I am getting ahead of myself again.)

Maine Countryside
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
As Sue and I drove along, I had an opportunity to admire the landscape in beautiful sunshine. The countryside is so lovely, with rolling topography and lots of trees and little lakes. “Ponds,” they call them. Ha! They are lakes, all right. And with the frosty snow that remains on the ground, the frozen landscape looks just like a painting. It just needs a frame around it, and you could hang it up in a museum. Just gorgeous.

Today was to have been sleigh ride day, which we'd all been looking forward to. As it happens, Sue has never been on a sleigh ride! And she still hasn't. There was apparently not enough snow for the sleigh, and there was too much snow and ice for the wagon, and, voila...They canceled on us. Believe me when I say that there were sad faces all around. Especially so for the sleigh ride guy, who earns most of his dough this time of year.

Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
To make up for our disappointment, we all loaded up in Sue's SUV and headed to Mecca. No, the other Mecca: Cabela's! It's in Portland, Maine.

On the way there, I mentioned to Sue that I'm quite enamored with the farmhouses that go on and on, with the attached barns [See photos in last post]. She said that they are typical country construction here, and the old ones started out as regular, two-story farmhouses that were added onto as kids came along and families grew, which is what gives the rambling look. The attached barn was for animals. Jim said that smart folks had a separate, detached barn for the hay some distance away from the main house. Something about spontaneous combustion, which you can imagine might have had devastating effects on many families.

Before entering Cabela's, we went to American Pie to eat. Pizza pie, that is, and very good, too. As a rule, I'm not a big fan of pizza crust, but the beer dough was very good. We ordered two pies. One was sausage and pepperoni and peppers and onions. The sausage was very tasty, and the pepperoni didn't give me indigestion! Yay! The other one was sort of Asian influenced, with chicken and julienned carrots and spinach and a sauce that was a tiny bit sweet, but also very good. I admit to eating quite a bit of the pizza. It was yummy.

Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
And then, it was across the parking lot to Cabela's. That is one huge sporting goods store! If you're going camping or fishing or hunting, and you can't find what you're looking for here, you really don't need it. They had lots of taxidermy about, too, in “nature” settings. Deer and wolves and elk and moose and dozens of other kinds of animals. It was kind of an educational exhibit, if you will. No offense to my wonderful sister-in-law, who simply can't abide this kind of thing. My husband was in heaven.

It was already getting dark when we left the store with our purchases. I thought perhaps we'd been there longer than we'd planned. Then again, it seems to get dark very fast here. But I could be imagining things.

On the way home, we stopped at the Hanniford Market so Zack could pick up the ingredients for our traditional homemade eggnog. It was a very nice market, with attractive displays and much variety in the product department. We weren't actually shopping for produce, but I was browsing, not shopping! And I like a good produce department. So there.

I guess he is a lap dog,
after all!
Harry and his buddy.
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
We returned to Sue and Jim's by way of the construction site for the new casino that everyone hopes will boost the local economy, which is in a slump. I'm led to believe that the economy in Maine is pretty much perpetually in a slump, thus the hope that the casino will mean lots of hiring, benefits, and so forth. I'm sure we all have our own quite varied opinions about the probability of said hopes being realized or dashed. We shall see.

We enjoyed the aforementioned delightfully rich and delicious supper, followed by Needhams and Whoopie Pies and Moxie (the original) Soda, which is the official soft drink of Maine. Come on!

Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
Back at the duplex, as I write in my journal, it is one minute before midnight. Our little tree is lit, and we're watching “A Christmas Story” on the television. I've called my loved ones back home to wish them a Merry Christmas, and I'm reflecting on the Reason for the Season.

Two thousand years ago, a Child was born who would clear the way for us to be in relationship with our Creator. His perfect life was sacrificed in atonement for you and for me. Today, we're celebrating His birth, though, not His death and resurrection. It's a joyous time. Unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given. His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Joy to the world! The Lord is come!

I wax nostalgic and a bit teary-eyed, as I have a tendency to do during my more contemplative moments. Peace on earth; goodwill towards men. Merry Christmas!

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