Wishing you a special seat this Christmas

As I’m preparing for this year’s holiday feast at the cabin, I’m reminded with a chuckle about some of last year’s preparation challenges.
The following is a replay of that special Christmas . . .
“I’d like to have everyone here,” I told my husband. “This place has all the naturally beautiful Christmas surroundings.
“It will be easy to make it just right,” I added.
“Yes, but what about the conveniences,” he replied. “Not everyone likes roughing it.”
But I wasn’t listening. I was imagining the warm glow of the fireplace, snowy evergreens, and a dinner gathering as perfect as the image from an old-time Christmas card.
So I set out to prove I could manage every detail. First, I made lists. This is especially important at a non road-access cabin since if you forget an item (one year it was the turkey), then it’s a lot of hassle and cursing getting back across the lake and to town.
After hauling all the stuff, it was time for the usual stuff (for example, dangling from high places to hang outdoor lights, and bringing one rather large, snowy tree indoors).
Christmas morning was busy, too. Excited, I skipped breakfast so I could chop onions and mix the dressing. After all, the turkey needed to get stuffed.
That’s when I hit a hurdle. I forgot I don’t own a roasting pan to fit a 20-pound turkey. In fact, the one from my tiny cabin cupboard barely holds a large turkey’s leg.
But I didn’t fret. Instead, I headed to the wood pile, where I found a huge metal basin we use to dispose of fireplace ashes (and, oh yeah, we use it to launch July 1 fireworks, too).
But with patience, I did get most of the sand and explosive bits flushed from the bin’s crevices, and luckily it somehow squeezed into the oven.
Then I got to the potatoes. I’m proud I used real ones. Usually at the lake I use the instant flaky variety, since they are easier to haul, but for this occasion I wanted only the best.
That’s when people started to arrive. I could hear the roar of snowmachines. I kept the guests out of my way as I finished with the rest of the food, however, except for my youngest brother. When he poked his head in, I accosted him to help me put three tables together.
I had big plans for centerpieces: candles surrounded by pine cones scrounged from under the snow, and evergreen boughs smelling only slightly of chainsaw oil.
Finally, it was time to set out the food and reap the rewards of some very full days. When I called people in from outside, I looked far out to the blanket of barren landscape. With the casting of warm light from the windows, the cabin looked like a gateway to a divine place.
Providing this meal is a privilege, I thought, as people made their way to their seats.
But as the compliments started to flow, I couldn’t believe my ears.
“It fits perfectly over the toilet seat,” said one.
“It’s super soft,” said another.
“You’ve created an outhouse experience I can really enjoy,” said a third.
Turns out the piece of Styrofoam which my husband found in the garbage pile, then cut into a ring and threw over the outhouse toilet seat, was a big hit.
“When your butt hits the surface, you almost forget that you’re turning purple from frostbite,” said yet another.
Lovely picture, I thought. So much for imagining the cover of that old-time Christmas card.
I wish you a warm holiday seat this Christmas.
Share ideas about how to live cabin style by e-mailing me at joanna@escape.ca

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