Monday, January 4, 2010

Auld Lang Syne and Then Some

If the septic system crisis didn’t put a damper on our holiday hilarity, we certainly weren’t going to let a little drizzle dampen our demeanor. All nine kids, ranging in age from eight to eighteen, set up a “beauty” salon in our master bedroom and bath, where they went through a pint of Richard’s hair gel creating weird and wondrous hairstyles on both boys and girls.

As the house filled with even more people filling every chair in the house, many of us moved outside. At least the night was relatively warm; and Nick and Albert had built a huge bonfire. This was in addition to all the firewood they worked with Richard to cut and stack for both indoor and outdoor blazes. The kids moved outside to play hide-and-seek in the woods and shoot fireworks while the adults monitored them from the fire pit.

Our living room was filled with folks listening to David’s guitar in front of the fireplace. The guest/playroom was an escape for cousins who had much catching-up conversation to share. Our kitchen contained more conventional fare than that which we served at our first New Year’s Eve bash in the boondocks. That year, Scott brought up sixty pounds of fresh gulf shrimp and his boiling rig. We rang in the New Year with Cajun boiled, head-on shrimp and all the fixin’s on our deck. Several of our guests couldn’t bring themselves to eat food that was looking at them.

This year, we had Rachel’s jambalaya, cookies, and artichoke squares, which we brought back from her Christmas open house. I used left-over Italian mushroom squares made by Rachel to create an Italian frittata, which we served with marinara and parmesan cheese. Buffy and Rachel helped prepare chorizo and cream cheese-stuffed pickled jalapenos, much like Holly had served us several months ago. Rachel and David were greatly relieved that most of the mountain folks found these too hot for their tastes, leaving most of the peppers for them. I suppose we’ll never have a holiday happening without a little Cajun cuisine.

I reinvented a favorite 1970’s mushroom in dilled sour cream hors d’oeuvres recipe which we served with garlic panatini. Buffy requested this recipe after one taste. We also had various cheese balls and spreads to go on crackers and chili-cheese stuffed banana peppers. To round out the menu, Buffy poured barbecue sauce over Little Smokies, and Rachel sliced the fruitcake that I had made in her honor.

It’s traditional in the mountains to replace the ball drop at midnight with a possum drop. Charlie takes care of this detail. Full disclaimer: There are no animals harmed in this ritual, as Charlie’s possum is a fluffy stuffed animal that usually hangs in his saloon.

By the time we toasted 2010 with champagne, both real and non-alcoholic, and Charlie dropped his possum from the dog run, we were all covered in mud from slipping and sliding in the drizzly rain. I had fallen almost into the fire pit, taking Deborah with me. Camille had bruised her butt taking a tumble down the muddy stairs, and Albert had slid into home plate on our front porch. Thankfully, no serious injuries were sustained, but I guess Richard can add slip-proofing our deck and stairs to his New Year’s honey-do list.

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