Holidays at Home series starts with New York Bestselling author James Rollins!
Walking into the home of James Rollins I felt immediately welcomed and in awe. The rooms I saw were warm and it was obvious there was a lot of thought put into them.
There are some houses that you go into where you’re afraid to touch anything. This was not one of those houses. This was a home. I could see evidence of Mr. Rollins life and loves scattered amongst the Christmas decorations. In case you don’t know, this New York Times bestselling thriller author is a doctor of veterinary medicine. If I didn’t know that before, finding hidden dog statues, pictures and other items would have tipped me off.
Mr. Rollins has two dogs, both are older and need some extra care. I’m a dog lover myself and instantly fell in love with them. I think you can tell a lot by how someone’s pets act. Both were warm and friendly, obviously well-loved and obviously in love with their owner.
Mr. Rollin’s home is spacious, beautiful and practical all at once. Most of the things that I gravitated toward ended up being items that had been given as gifts or handed down from family members. There’s nothing like a home full of things given with love and memories.
For anyone who has ever met Mr. Rollins you know he is gracious and that he appreciates all that has come from his success. He is intelligent, soft-spoken and clever.
As we talked about the holidays and family he recalled a letter that his sister wrote and he allowed me the honor of reading it. After a brief chat we thought it would be both fun and enlightening to share his sister’s holiday memory of the family and so it is with great pleasure that I share with you a wonderful holiday memory written by Carrie Czajkowski.
All of my good friends, at one time or another have experienced it. They all still speak of their experience with a misty-eyed reverence, hoping to with eager intent to be invited back. But this event is not for the weak of heart or for the rigid waist line. Yes folks, it is time to put on the elastic waistband, for I give you now a guide to surviving . . . (pause of exalted apprehension)
the Czajkowski Holiday Dinner.
Mom and Dad’s holiday dinners are rivaled by none! The display of food, warmth and entertainment (mostly this is where Dad comes in) is almost frightening in its magnitude.
The day starts (well our day starts, Mom’s day started weeks before) with a wonderful assault of enticing smelling roasting beast. You are greeted with a hug and kiss and are directed to some type of appetizer, this could be chips, it could be a cheese ball, but the thing to keep in mind here is to be moderate, save room. Trust me, this will come in handy later. Dad has you covered with the offer of a beverage and a point to the fridge in the garage (and usually a ‘and grab me one while you are out there’). If you are lucky he will beguile you with a joke or two early on, but usually he saves his best material for dinner.
At this point the family is catching up on the events of our lives. Each trying to inject some dry or not so dry humor into their passages. The sound of some type of game will feed the background. The occasional question will be thrown Moms way about the seasonal specialty, lam cake, chocolate balls, or what have you.
The anticipation builds as Dad carves the main course. Some try to sneak a bite, but their swindle doesn’t affect the bounty. Then it truly begins. The dishes of delight seem to appear out of every orifice of the kitchen. They roll forward onto the dinning table and unfold into a splendor like you have never seen. It is like magic.
Everyone joins the table. Trust me, you don’t need to be asked twice. Dad says grace and everyone starts digging and passing, passing and digging. Mayhem ensues. Eventually everyone settles into his or her plate of goodness. Not much talking happens here, just eating lots of eating, seconds, thirds, that just one more bite. Slowly the talking starts again and usually lots of laughing. Talk about a food buzz, look out. About this time Dad rolls out the jokes. Whether the jokes are in good taste or bad, Dad’s delivery is impeccable. I couldn’t remember a joke to save my life, but Dad has a million of ‘em.
By now, the pants start to feel tight and a nap sounds delicious. Then it starts again. The desert. Not one, not two, usually about eight hundred different deserts are delivered to the table. You think I exaggerate, but nay, I do not. Everything you could have dreamed of in the realm of sugary goodness is displayed before you. I ask you, how do you stop? You give into it. Finally, you hurt, the floor calls and you go to it.
In about ten minutes Mom will ask if you want anything else. Maybe a Twinkie? It is painful, but for a minute you consider another pecan sandie, they are just so light and airy.
The day winds down in any number of way, going to a movie or renting a good family video, like Basket Case or the Dawn of the Dead trilogy. But one thing is certain, you will leave full, happy and with a plate of wonderful leftovers (and maybe a little disturbed depending).
Why do I share this story, the analogies are simple, every bit of food and humor here is the love and strength of my family and it is presented freely and in abundance from my parents to us all. My friends were lucky enough to have enjoyed this splendor once or twice in their lives. I have enjoyed these events my entire life.
I know how lucky I am.