JOY TO THE WORLD (WITH A SPLASH OF GIN)

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

        A jolly man indeed

 

Christmas is a lot like golf.  We have visions of greatness and perfection but the reality is often closer to a bogey.  Some years maybe even a double bogey.  As we get older the holiday season can be more difficult, remembering those who are no longer with us or who we no longer see.  I think many people become sentimental about Christmases past when life seemed simpler. Personally, when I’m in the midst of the Christmas fray I long for the Christmases of my childhood when all I had to do is show up. No shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning – just act excited about the gifts under the tree.  I say “act” because there were a lot of years when I found my gifts in my mother’s not-so-secret hiding place and knew exactly what I was getting.  Mostly what I miss are the fun family gatherings, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.  There are people who are lucky enough to live close to their families, thus avoiding the packing and mailing of gifts and – worse yet – traveling to see loved ones, but they are becoming fewer and farther to find.  I hardly know anyone anymore who doesn’t deal with some sort of hassle or drama around the holidays.

Which is why this is a good time to reflect on those things in which we can take joy and perhaps be a bit kinder to one another.  It’s often said that we never know what problems people have from looking at the outside.  I’m sure we’ve all known people who appear to “have everything” and yet in reality have significant problems.  And that includes the person who cuts in line at the supermarket or honks their horn in traffic.  Maybe they’re just jerks.  Or maybe the holiday season is particularly difficult for them – the loss of a loved one, illness, a lost job – seem magnified right now.  Throw in all that’s going on in the world, and life can become a bit overwhelming. Which is why a little kindness can go a long way in making someone’s day just a bit better.

In my effort to be a bit more kind I don’t have to look far for an example.  Our dad was the kindest man I’ve ever known.  Coupled with his hysterical sense of humor, he was a force to be reckoned with.  He was in his element at Christmas, with his children gathered around him and hosting friends and family.  I miss him all year long but most especially this season.  So in his memory, I once again provide you with his famous Christmas Ice Cream Fizz recipe.  He served it every Christmas morning and it gave a roseate hue to the entire day. We share his recipe in the hopes that it might help you all enjoy the holidays just a bit more.  After all, ice cream and gin – how kind is that?

POP’S CHRISTMAS ICE CREAM FIZZ

Fill a blender 1/4 full with ice cubes
Add 6 jiggers of gin
Add 4 scoops of French Vanilla ice cream
Add 1 small bottle of soda water (the size you get in a 6-pack)

My brother Bob adds an egg so the white adds some froth, brother Jack doesn’t add an egg. Personally, I’d add it just because you can then claim it’s a protein drink.
Just blend it well and – voila – you have a concoction sure to put a positive spin on everyone and every thing!
Our mom served them in a wine glass with a dash of nutmeg. As we got older we conspired with Pop and ditched the wine glass for a chilled beer mug from the freezer. Saved having to go back for seconds…or thirds.

Wishing all of our subscribers a very happy holiday season! Cheers!

A CHRISTMAS TOAST

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Just hangin’ with the former Pres.

George H.W. Bush was a hero of mine.  I didn’t always agree with him politically, but in 1999 I read his book, All the Best, and fell in love.  I fell in love with his character, his joyful sense of fun, his integrity and his love of family and friends.  In so many ways he represented what was good about the Greatest Generation – an ethic forged through the Depression and WWII that stood for so many values we cherish.  As luck would have it, just weeks after finishing his book I was privileged to meet him.  He was as charming in person as he was on the written page.   I had my photo taken with him and was so excited to learn they would send me a copy of it.  I imagined framing it and placing it prominently in my office.  A few weeks later when it arrived my heart sunk.  The photo looked so unlike me that for an instant I thought they had mixed up my photo with someone else’s.  Finally in my despair I figured out the problem – a few days before the photo was taken I had undergone Lasik surgery.  Obviously I was still sensitive to light so when the camera flashed on my pupils I scrunched up like a Shar Pei dog.  For almost 20 years the photo has been hidden in a closet.  But as I watched his memorial services a couple of weeks ago I thought again about my encounter with him and dragged it out.  It did not improve with time.  But still…I love having that moment captured.  As I listened to his eulogies I thought about something told to me when my father died – that when a friend loses a parent it brings back all of the emotions you have about your own parents’ passing.

That rang especially true as I heard George W. say that the last words his dad said to him was, “I love you.”  A week before my dad died I boondoggled a trip up to Northern California so that I could go visit him in the hospital.  He was in rare form that day, laughing and joking, and generally keeping the nurses merrily entertained.  When I had to leave to attend that pesky meeting I’d manufactured, I leaned over his bed and told him I loved him.  He gave me a big smile and said, “I love you too, sweetheart.”  Although I spoke with my mom daily about his condition, those words from him were his last to me – a week later he died suddenly at home of a heart attack.  I know what comfort his words have brought me over the years and I know that George W. will undoubtedly take solace in those same words from his dad.  I miss my dad all year, but especially at Christmas when I remember all the fun we had and the joy he brought to every family gathering.

Our Pop – a jolly man indeed!

So for this Christmas post I’d like to pay tribute and toast all of the people of that generation.  We are losing them far too quickly and with each of their deaths we mourn not only them, but the civility they embodied.   I can’t think of a better beverage with which to toast than Pop’s famous Ice Cream Gin Fizz.  He served it every Christmas morning and it gave a roseate hue to the entire day.  We share his recipe in the hopes that you will also take a moment to remember those we’ve lost with a toast of ice cream and gin.  How can you go wrong?

POP’S CHRISTMAS ICE CREAM FIZZ
Fill a blender 1/4 full with ice cubes
Add 6 jiggers of gin
Add 4 scoops of French Vanilla ice cream
Add 1 small bottle of soda water (the size you get in a 6-pack)
My brother Bob adds an egg so the white adds some froth, brother Jack doesn’t add an egg. Personally, I’d add it just because you can then claim it’s a protein drink.

Just blend it well and – voila – you have a concoction sure to put a positive spin on everyone and every thing!
Our mom served them in a wine glass with a dash of nutmeg. As we got older we conspired with Pop and ditched the wine glass for a chilled beer mug from the freezer. Saved having to go back for seconds…or thirds.

Wishing all of our subscribers a very happy holiday season!  Cheers!

MERRY CHRISTMAS – JUST ADD GIN!

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Today being Christmas Day we assume most of your are either opening presents or sleeping in this morning.  We are too!  So today we share some thoughts about our dad and, as always, share his famous Christmas Ice Cream Gin Fizz recipe.  Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday.

“THROUGH THE YEARS WE ALL WILL BE TOGETHER, IF THE FATES ALLOW…”

A jolly man indeed!

This will be the 16th Christmas without our dad. I miss him just as much this year as I did that very first one. He was a happy, joyful guy, always kind and helpful to others. He was also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. All year long he embodied the Christmas spirit and when I was very young I thought he even looked like Santa, with his twinkling blue eyes, rosy cheeks and a stomach that shook like a bowl full of jelly. He loved the holidays, welcoming friends and family alike into our home. Our whole family misses his loving spirit but we also recognize we were very lucky to have him as long as we did and are grateful that he left us with so many cherished Christmas memories.

 

“…SO HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS NOW.”

One of Pop’s hallmarks was the Ice Cream Gin fizz he served every Christmas morning. Oh sure, most families had hot chocolate and cider while we were drinking gin. But don’t judge – it has given a roseate hue to many a Christmas morning. We share it in the hopes that you can start your own Christmas memories.  Just keep it away from your Drunk Uncle.

 

POP’S CHRISTMAS ICE CREAM FIZZ

Fill a blender 1/4 full with ice cubes
Add 6 jiggers of gin
Add 4 scoops of French Vanilla ice cream
Add 1 small bottle of soda water (the size you get in a 6-pack)
My brother Bob adds an egg so the white adds some froth, brother Jack doesn’t add an egg. Personally, I’d add it just because you can then claim it’s a protein drink.
Just blend it well and – voila – you have a concoction sure to put a positive spin on everyone and every thing!
Our mom served them in a wine glass with a dash of nutmeg. As we got older we conspired with Pop and ditched the wine glass for a chilled beer mug from the freezer. Saved having to go back for seconds…or thirds.

We wish everyone a Happy Holiday season – we’ll be back in 2018!