Early December

Early December is one of my favorite times in Key West. The weather is lovely, temperatures mostly in the high seventies to low eighties. Great for lovely nights of soft air and gentle breezes. It gets a little crazy, but not congested with the crowds that come down after Christmas. My acrostic this week said that “the year was growing old and tired, but she was like the old lady who knew that she could still be charming even with her gray hair and wrinkles.”

In the paper Sunday was an article about the Murials, a trio of entertainers, two women and a man.  They entertain at various charity venues, lip sync and dance. The man says he’s always a little behind in the dance steps, but even so he’s pretty good. They have wild hairdos and wear ritzy flamboyant look alike outfits and have fun.

The Frangipani Tree outside my window is almost bare. The branches resemble a bunch of reindeer in a rumble. It will spring back to life with beautiful large pink blossoms in the Spring. I like to float them in a bowl of water with a few bright Bougainvillea blossoms. The Bougainvillea outside in the front yard is very old and a vivid purple. My brother throws little white lights on it every Christmas. He brought us a couple of papayas off his trees this morning. We sprinkle them with lime juice and sugar. They taste good that way and are so good for you. My brother throws the many large black seeds out in the yard to sprout new trees.

Last week there was a beautiful large White Heron stalking bugs and lizards in our front yard. He was quite striking there among the chickens and a colorful rooster.

The Hometown Christmas Parade was last Saturday.  We actually missed it. I was so disappointed. Peter told me on our way to church the next day. It is usually so much fun. In this largely adult community, it is strictly for the kids. I read in the paper that this year they passed out trash bags so the kids could put their candy wrappers in them. It didn’t work too well. The wrappers are a big headache for the clean-up crew. Next year, I’m definitely going to make a point of going. I love parades.

The decorated and lighted bicycle ride is tonight and goes right down our street. We can sit on the porch and watch it. Hundreds and hundreds of bicycles go by. It is mostly children with some adults thrown in here and there. We wave and they wave back and call Greetings to us. It makes you wish you could be a kid again and join them. The most we ever did with our bikes was put streamers on the ends of the handlebars and playing cards attached to the spokes of the wheels with clothespins which made us clatter as we rode around the neighborhood.

The local theater is doing “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” a play by Steve Martin about two giants of the 20th century Picasso and Einstein.  They are having a debate early in the century on the merits of art and science until a surprise third giant of the century arrives. We are going to see it again next week. We originally saw it years ago at Ford’s Theater in Washington; yes, the Ford’s Theater where President Lincoln was shot. In that production Steve Martin played Einstein. I’m looking forward to seeing the play again.

Friday we’re going to see Nutcracker Key West. It was created and founded by Joyce Stahl in 2005 and has been produced every other year since. It combines the rich cultural history of Key West with lots of dancing done by the approximately fifty children in the community which she trains to do the ballet numbers. They are chickens, a school of fish and octopi arms (a local very strong man swings the kids around, scary and exciting). Some of the kids are repeats and train the others. Joyce is a hard taskmaster and brooks absolutely no messing around. She says it’s either her way or the highway. One misbehavior and you’re gone and they know it. They learn a lot and have so much fun.  The scenery is visually beautiful and Joyce always gets professional ballet dancers down from New York and other places. It is a very entertaining evening and for many in the audience their first experience with live ballet.

The Schooner Wharf lighted boat parade is next Saturday. We haven’t been in a number of years. It can get raucous. Well, it is Key West. The last time we went to Mallory Square a number of years ago we were all mooned by some reveler on one of the boats.

We went down to Caroline’s on Duval Street last night for a bowl of Conch Chowder and a Dolphin Fish Sandwich with delicious French Fries on the side, which we tried to restrain ourselves from eating most of, but largely failed. We had an outside table a few feet up from the sidewalk. There were people and Christmas lights everywhere. The Conch Tour Train came by loaded with revelers doing a Christmas Lights ride through town. Very Festive.

I think I have been talked into singing in the choir by our new choir director. I told him I didn’t know how this was going to work out because I’m a lot of trouble. He said everybody here is a lot of trouble. The Bishop is coming Sunday for confirmation. Then the next Sunday, we’re having a Christmas Concert to benefit the organ which needs lots of work. The humidity in Key West is not good for the pipes. Putting the air conditioning on to control it is too expensive, so it’s patch, patch, patch unless we can eventually get solar power. One thing we have here is lots of sunshine.

The town is all lit up for the arrival of Christmas. We have started lighting the Advent Wreath at church and the Paper Bag Pageant Is coming soon. Everyone gets a paper bag with a costume and then you play the part in a very impromptu but fun Christmas story. Last year they forgot the baby Jesus. That caused a lot of finger pointing and consternation and then a lot of guffaws. It’s good to laugh at ourselves and our frailties every once in a while. Christmas Eve service is always special with the church all decorated with wreathes and flowers. And with the singing of all the Christmas carols which the Episcopal Church waits until Christmas Eve to sing.  All in all:  “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

3 thoughts on “Early December”

  1. I’m SO glad you’re gonna start singing again! And the boat parade reminds me of when Mary, Philippa and I sang carols on a friend’s house boat in the Christmas regatta contest on Allatoona Lake. We won the award for Best Sound! Would LOVE to see Nutcracker Key West! Putting that on my bucket list! Keep the great C.Cs coming.

  2. Thanks, Joanne, for a lovely glimpse into your Christmas season joys. Preparing for the December Palaver meeting, and know we’ll have to muddle on without you.

  3. Another jewel in your blog, Dahlin’!! I couldn’t be happier that you are singing again. Joy! Joy! I hope you don’t mind….I was so captivated by the Brown Bag Pageant and shared the idea with our new priest for next year. What fun it must be for everyone!! I don’t think we can make it to Key West this February…sigh…and am disappointed to High Heaven! When will I EVER sit on your couch again for a long chat?!! Save a spot for me. I’m bound and determined to get there one day! Love you much! — Mary

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