Unexpected pleasures

In a season that relies on meticulous planning, we enjoyed some unexpected pleasures this week that taught us lucky residents of this cool neighborhood how heart (and belly) swelling friendship can be.

First, a young friend of mine and I arrived home after a long, stressful day and found a small gift hanging from our side door knob.

“Well, this is fun,” I said as I slid it off and opened it.

I can’t tell you how touched we both were to find handmade ornaments inside, honoring every single member of our crazy clan. A wreath ornament listed the names of all six young people who call our kitchen table their own, their wives and fiancees.

It’s one thing to feel like you’re part of a family, it’s quite another to see it on a Christmas tree.

She never leaves a note suggesting who gave us what has become an annual present, but I know my friend and neighbor’s handiwork when I see it. So, thank you very much Susie. You made our day/holiday/year.

Later, we heard a knock on the door and opened it to find our friends and neighbors the Hudsons standing there with their arms full of goodies, including cheese, sausage and a plate brimming with goodies so delicious I had to hide the tray for a day or two to prevent over consumption.

A travel snafu stranded our daughter Katherine in Chicago for a night, which resulted in the unexpected pleasure of a visit from my sister in-law Donna, who drove up to Appleton from her home in Palatine after hosting Katherine for the night. Kindness abounds.

While the weather in Wisconsin might be threatening our white Christmas, it is also giving us the unexpected pleasure of some gloriously sunny days for tramping in the woods, playing in the park and ice skating for as long as the ice holds.

We’re all very excited in this house about planned joys we’re about to experience, but we feel especially lucky to have experienced the unexpected pleasures friendship can offer as well.

Here’s hoping this crazy season provides you with some unexpected joy.

This was just one of the 2019 ornaments our friend Suzie left on our doorknob this year. It’s a very touching thing to see your whole extended family on a Christmas tree.
There were very cute individual ornaments as well.
And one for Vince and me.
And, if that wasn’t enough to make our hearts swell, we received the unexpected pleasure of homemade goodies from our friends Mark and Amanda, along with a generous supply of cheese and sausage. Hearts full, bellies full. Yum yum.
We spent the solstice admiring the unexpected pleasure of sunshine.
And our California girl enjoyed some unexpectedly impressive turns on the ice. You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you’ll never take the Wisconsin out of the girl and her spiral.