Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Hollandaise!

Traditions.  These are what make the holidays seem so festive.  It doesn't seem like Christmas unless we...

Over the years our family traditions have changed, and this year was no exception.  Hectic work schedules caused us to want to simplify things, and yet this Christmas will hold some wonderful memories.

Coming from Washington, one tradition we refuse to give up is a real Christmas tree.  The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, Mom, Dad and I pile into the car, head to Lowe's *cringe* and pick out our tree.  Dad scrutinizes the trees while Mom and I shiver in the cold saying "It doesn't have to be perfect.  Remember the book?".  And he inevitably answers, "Yes, but let's just look at one more..."  This year Dad left on a two week trip to Vietnam and Nepal right after Thanksgiving.  Mom and I were a little unsure of ourselves, but we both considered it an adventure.  We walked into the store and began our search.  The first tree we picked up looked pretty good, the trunk and top were straight and there were no large gaps.  It took about two minutes to figure that out, but that didn't seem long enough.  What else should we be looking for?  Dad always looks at the tree longer than this.  Plus, we couldn't take the first tree we saw.  We just couldn't.  So we went and picked up a couple more trees, twirled them and put them back.  Our hands were numb.  The trees were wet and had soaked through the gloves we were wearing.  There's nothing like cold hands to speed up the decision making.  We deliberated and decided to go with the first one.  It was a success.

Chicago has a favorite chocolatier.  Her name is Fannie Mae.  For the life of me, I have never understood why anyone would want to buy chocolate from someone named Fannie, but hey, this is the Midwest.  They also think Wisconsin produces real cheese.  But that's a side thought.  A few years ago a See's Candies opened in Downer's Grove.  We no longer had to rely on Grandpa and Grandma Sattler to send us a pound of Nuts and Chews at Christmas.  We could go pick out our own!  Our annual trip began with breakfast at Egg'lectic Café.  We were sitting having a lovely meal when something dropped.  We looked over and saw a bowl of hollandaise splattered on the floor about three feet away, trailing right up to our table.  "It's all up your back!".  People were starting to head towards Dad, napkins in hand to wipe up the splatter that had gone clear up to his hair.  We couldn't stop laughing.  Mostly because we kept thinking of Patti Eshagpoor and her infectious laugh, and wishing she were there to witness the fiasco.  I was just relieved because I had almost sat in that seat.  After our eventful breakfast we headed to pick out our chocolates.  The hollandaise was forgotten as we picked our pound of chocolates.  Dad was especially happy because See's has this rule.  You can sample as many chocolates as you like, as long as you eat them in the store.  The closer we get to the store, the more frequently he repeats "Now don't forget to eat your samples".  This was definitely Christmas trip we will always remember.  It is the year we coined the phrase 'Happy Hollandaise'.  If you think it's funny, I came up with that one.  If not, it can easily be passed off as one of Dad's jokes.


KathyB. said...

I think it is a 'Dad" ritual, the long, long, very loooooooong time to make a choice of Christmas tree. Uncle Jim would do the same and often we would end up with our first choice. I was always numb with the cold and needing a rest room way before "we" would make our choice.

Sounds like you all have a good time with chocolate!As far as your Mom's side of the family, it is what helps make the world go round, and all good roads lead to chocolate, LOTS OF IT !

I like 'Happy Hollandaise', and Happy New Year to you!

Anonymous said...

Ash, I laughed till I cried...and then I laughed some more! :-D I love the way you write.

Kathy--this is not just my dad and Christmas trees. This is my dad and ANYthing he shops for. This is the man who had to look at 27 identical black leather fanny packs (or purses, as we call them) before he picked one out. :-)

A. Joy said...

Okay, now I'm laughing at the fact that your dad shopped for fanny packs. !!! Sounds like something you'll have to blog about.
Loved this post Ashley - the whole chocolate shopping thing is so familiar being a member of this family, somehow, I didn't gain my father's love ( or any of his sister's ) of chocolate - I prefer pancakes and cinnamon rolls. I guess I'm a bread girl. My dad always had the say on the tree - but he'd always check with me first. Now I choose the trees around here ... and put up the lights... guess I was first in line when that torch was passed.

KathyB. said...

Fanny packs ? You mean b***-oops, rear end purses ? O.K., I am sorry. Fanny packs. Well, I do suppose that if he is actually wearing one he should be particular!

But, your Uncle Jim was every bit as persnickety as your Dad when it came to Christmas trees !Good post, and Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

But he doesn't WEAR them! He carries them over his shoulder like a purse, which is why we started calling it that. :-D

KathyB. said...

Oh boy, you had me and your Uncle Jim laughing til we cried with your remark Megan! So your Dad's fanny pack is not really a fanny pack, but an over the shoulder pack..hmmm.....a purse ?!?

Ashley said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I wasn't sure I would know what to write about in a blog, but your comments are certainly encouraging.

To be honest, I was actually inspired to finally take the plunge after reading your blog, Aunt Kathy. It gave me some ideas of what I could write about. You may see some similarities in the future. : )