Well, tonight's the night. I hope you have most of your gifts wrapped and your cookies baked, because you're just about to run out of time for getting everything finished. We had our annual Hansen multigenerational cookie and candy tutorial this weekend, and I'm sure everyone is properly carbo-charged for the season.
Traditions are as fun to remember as they are to participate in. One of my favorite "done every year since I was a tot" experiences with my mom is to make an old pioneer concoction called Olympian Creams. Made with nothing but sugar, cream and water, they may not sound like much. However, there is an element of danger involved in not getting your nose hairs singed off or your eyebrows obliterated when you add boiling water to the caramelized sugar sizzling in the skillet that makes one appreciate the labor-intensive steps involved. Cream (heavy, naturally) is added to that mess and a careful simmer to soft ball stage, then the wait until the mixture cools to "the temperature of new milk," followed by what seems like hours of hand mixing, brings you to a confection of divine proportions.
The Intrepid Ireta is a pro at all of this, and her divinity is to die for. The whole experience this year, which included a newborn baby boy and a woman four years short of 100 years old, with a bunch of us in between, made us remember what tradition is all about. I hope you have a memory as wonderful to bring out when you're alone on some Christmas day.
But don't be alone tomorrow. If you're a senior citizen, stop by the Kenai Senior Citizens Center at noon for a potluck. If you're not a senior, maybe you could help. They will be singing Christmas carols over there at 11 a.m. this morning, if you're in a holiday mood.
Another tradition worth plugging is the annual Kenai High School alumni basketball tournament being held Friday at Cliff Massey Court at KCHS. Anybody who ever played for KCHS is invited to come and join the fun. Gals are especially welcome. The women will play at 6:30 p.m. and the guys at 8 p.m. This after-Christmas event has been going on for years, says Pam Saltzgiver. "It's so much fun to see these kids home from college or wherever again, and to hear what's been happening in their lives."
She invites everyone to "come and show us you can still play ball!" Call Pam at 262-8999 for more details.
"SnoCats roar, are you listenin'? On my neck, hairs are bristlin'. A beautiful night, disturbed by the plight Of tryin' to sleep amid the winter fun. Neighbor kids, they're a 'roarin', while my house should be snorin'. Impossible to sleep, with snowmachines to leap. It's winter in our wonderland up north!"
I think I'm the only kid on the block without a snowmachine. Santa, where are you?
Merry Christmas, Kenai, and God bless us, every one.
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