Have you put a bow on your Christmas prep yet?

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season barely gives most people a minute to catch their breath. That is why the many memes “keep calm and put a bow on it” are always trending on social media this time of year. But for me, it is fairly quiet, and, given the fact that the weather has been mostly cooperative lately, (except for a dusting of snow this morning), I’ve gotten out to my favorite parks, just marking my time, waiting for when snow and ice will obliterate my longer walks and picture-taking adventures.

I do love Heritage Park in Taylor, Michigan for many reasons, especially the ducks and geese who gather around Coan Lake, a man-made lake adjacent to the covered bridge. Around the holidays, at night, the park is lit up on the bridge with strands of twinkling lights and the old-fashioned light poles are all aglow as well. As you can see above, and in some photos below, Heritage Park puts holiday flags on all the light poles, lending a very festive air.

On the day that I last visited here, it was very blustery and cold. I did an earlier post about the mallards that gathered near the bridge, (click here if you missed it) and this post I’m going to write about their feathered friends, the Canada Geese, which are also plentiful at the park, whether they are strolling around the grounds, or paddling in the lake. Even though the day was dull and dreary, with a sky that seemed to threaten rain any minute, this venue never disappoints. It was the weekend before Thanksgiving and many of the trees still had their leaves, though the colors were somewhat subdued – likely by now, the trees are all bare. Here are some of my favorite photos and impressions from that day.

It seems a flock of geese are always on the move, often flying overhead and they give me cause to pause to look up and marvel at their formation, most of the time in a perfect V. I will watch their signal caller as I wonder, will they dip down to graze or paddle or float around in the water? I was lucky enough to capture these geese ascending and descending, respectively, in the two photos below. They honk the entire time they are doing this and I’ve never figured out if they are conveying a message to one another or simply announcing their arrival or departure to the rest of the world? (Look closely in the first picture as they are directly in front of the schoolhouse.)

The festive flags and the geese got me thinking about the impending holidays and the Canada geese who “live” at this house. My mother loved birds, especially cardinals and jays, and there are many ornaments, resin figurines and other collectibles around the house with their likeness, though she sure liked the bigger birds too. The kitchen has its collection of wooden and ceramic duck decoys, rooster items on the wall, or on top of the fridge, and then there are the geese – oh yes, the geese. There are a lot of them too; some are rustic and hand carved, some which are other mediums, like ceramic or wool and a few even have names too. (Try dusting all these fine-feathered friends … grrrrrr.)

I used to spend an entire day decorating the house (and it’s a small house) for Christmas … this required tucking items away for a month and hoping to remember where the knickknacks etc. were stored for New Year’s Day when I took everything Christmassy down and restored the house back to normal again.

Every year, my mom would say “don’t spend all your time decorating – we’re adults and there are no kids coming to the house – rest on the day after Thanksgiving!” But I persisted, saying we needed the festive ambiance in our home. My mom did her part to brighten the holiday season by decorating the Canada Geese. This entailed tying a bright-red ribbon around each one’s neck. I’d say it was her tradition, just like making Christmas cookies and the sinfully rich (and rather boozy) mincemeat tarts that would knock your socks off. She did not drink, but in July halved a bottle of candied fruit mincemeat mix and poured a liberal amount of rum in each jar; by December the mixture was pretty potent. Anyway, Mom would tie her ribbons on the geese and declare her part of the holiday decorating was done.

Here are a few pictures of my mom and me holding “Lucy” the almost life-sized Canada Goose which always sits in front of the electric fireplace in the living room. The first photo is from Christmas 1984 and the rest of the photos are from Christmas 1987, a holiday I remember very well … more on that in a minute.

I hate that some of these older pictures have a gummy residue on them from the photo albums, but, that said, these 1987 pictures were from a very non-traditional Christmas, because I had my tonsils out on December 22nd. I had my tonsils originally removed in 1972 and one “root” was left and the tonsil grew back on that side – what are the odds of that happening I wonder? I went to an ear/nose and throat doc complaining that if a person with a cold even looked at me, I’d end up with a sore throat and was sick the next day, despite eating healthy, sleeping well, taking vitamins AND having my tonsils removed already! The ENT doc peered down my throat and said “you have the remains of a tonsil my dear – as soon as your cold is over, call my office and we’ll schedule you for outpatient surgery and plan on a few days’ downtime because you’re older and it’s not so easy when you have a tonsillectomy.” I was 31 years old (that was older??)

The surgery was on Tuesday, the 22nd and I planned to use up all my sick days and took off work until the new year. I did have a few issues with my ear afterward, and this surgery complicated Christmas dinner as I was not supposed to have anything solid for about five or six days … you can do the math. Mom made many bowls of Jell-o and it was nice of her to make them in cherry and lime flavors for Christmas Day. She heated herself up a can of Campbell’s Chunky soup and ate it in the other room so I would not smell the soup and hunger for something more than Jell-o. I never even decorated at work or at home that year, save for a small tree I usually put up on my desk, as I considered Christmas kind of a lost cause that year. Here is me on Christmas Day eating Jell-o and posing near the arrangement they sent to me from work.

This year, like most years since my mom passed away in 2010, I did not decorate … oh, I put out an ornament or two, but that was it. Next year I promise myself I’ll at least put up one of the Christmas trees – there are two ceramic trees, the little one pictured on the mantel above and two miniature trees, one I took to work in later years and one here at the house … surely I can do that much right? But, despite my lackadaisical manner of decorating for the Christmas season, I smile fondly as I remember my mom announcing “my decorating is done!” Right … adding those bows to the Canada Geese. So you’ve met Lucy and these geese I have similarly adorned with their holiday bows and with that task, I have put a bow on my Christmas 2019 prep.

The first goose is Daloose – I am spelling her name phonetically as I have never had occasion to spell out her moniker. We were at a Pendleton shop buying some Winter woolen skirt suits for me (back in the days when I still got dressed up for work) and it was around Christmastime. We spotted this woolen goose which was an ornament on a shelf and asked the owner if it was for sale. No, it was not, but we explained our goose and duck collection and she parted with it … Daloose has lived at the end of the hall since the late 80s and, while not a Canada Goose, she is still displayed prominently. She used to have a silk Christmas neck ribbon and one day I was vacuuming her and the vacuum nozzle caught the ribbon and sucked the whole thing up – I let out a scream in surprise and we did not retrieve the ribbon, but simply used another one.

And then there’s Bruce – he resides in the spare bedroom. Not much character with this guy, with his bland expression and he is not as realistic looking as Lucy, but he is similarly adorned with a red bow. There are other smaller geese or geese figurines here at the house, but no more Canada Geese, since we ran out of goose-type names. 🙂

I digressed … bigtime – enough memories; now back to Heritage Park.

While meandering around Heritage Park, snapping pics of the mallards and the geese, I remembered Mom and her tradition and I fancied the geese that paraded in front of me looking like those festive geese at home. So, in preparing this post, I added a ribbon here and there … just because. What do you think – do the Heritage Park fellows look like the geese here at home?

Just like at the eye doctor always asks at your annual appointment … is this better?

… or about the same? (In this instance, it would be Canada geese au naturel.)

Of course, be-ribboning your Canada Geese doesn’t always work out, especially if you are trying your best to capture four of them in an Beatles Abbey Road-like pose like these below … c’mon guys, work with me on this … march across, no veering off the pathway. How did I do? Is that a wiggle or a struggle for y’all? Just stay on the beaten path please! You see in the second photo, one goose started to go his own way.

Back to Christmastime and Heritage Park at the holidays. The venue has such a nostalgic look and hearkens back to times long before I was ever around. Here are some more pictures around this historic park. The old-time buildings give this park its ambiance – my favorites are the covered bridge, mill and little red schoolhouse.

Christmas is a week from today, so here’s hoping your holiday prep is a wrap and you can enjoy the ambiance of the season. Me, … I’m headed out to shovel or sweep away the dusting of snow on this bitter cold morning.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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35 Responses to Have you put a bow on your Christmas prep yet?

  1. Laurie says:

    I like the festive bows you gave the Canada geese. And seeing photos of you and your mom with the decorations was wonderful. How crazy is it that you had to have your tonsils removed TWICE??? I would have to opt for ice cream is I had my tonsils removed. I cannot force down Jello. Glad to read that you are getting out for your regular walks even in this winter weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Laurie – I thought it would be a fun touch as we near the holidays to show off the Canada geese here at the house and contrast them to those at Heritage Park. I found the bow in the “stickers” portion of http://www.photofunny.net.

      Glad you liked the photos of my mom and me – I noticed when getting these pictures ready, that my mom was wearing one of the aprons I made that I wrote about in a post this past Summer. I also was wearing one in the photo where I was eating green and red Jell-o. I don’t mind Jell-o and I guess ice cream would have worked well too – I was pretty sick of eating food that had no texture after 5-6 days! I could not believe it when the doctor said there was a tonsil “root” left behind. He likened it to yanking the geraniums out of your porch pot, and not taking the entire root out and planting new flowers the next Spring and discovering a root. The surgery was not more than 15 minutes as I recall. It took longer to put me under than have the tonsil removed. I had my tonsils originally removed during “Watergate week” (the week of the break-in at DNC headquarters, etc.) – I remember that as there was nothing else on TV to watch and I was in the hospital several days as I was older then too – I was 16 years old and the oldest kid in the pediatric wing. My mom said my pediatrician didn’t like removing tonsils – said it was not a good idea. We had a weather hiccup this morning – very brutally cold (0 “real feel” when I went out) but it was blowing snow and I decided to sweep it – it is now gone, so I am back to walking tomorrow – no more snow til after Christmas now – more walking to be done!


  2. Loved the pictures of you and your mom!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joni says:

    Loved the whole post – the pictures of you and your mom, the geese and the park. I loved the bow on the geese pictures too, and the optometrist joke!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Joni – Glad you liked it and I should have mentioned in the post that my mom (and I) were wearing the aprons I wrote about back in the Summer. I don’t know why I had an apron on as I was just eating Jell-o, not anything messy? My mom wore her apron all the time as she liked the pockets to put stuff in, etc. So, it was kind of a joke between my mom and me that she would do the Christmas decorating which involving putting the red bows on the geese. There are other geese in the house and one has a rustic-looking Christmas wreath ornament on its neck, but I didn’t include him as it wasn’t a Christmassy-type red bow. The Scotch plaid goose always looks festive and is around all year long. I decided to throw in the optometrist joke as everyone has heard them ask those questions, especially if you wear glasses – ten minutes of the same question and answer by doc/patient. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I could just picture my optometrist saying that, he has such a calm monotone voice, but imagine having to repeat that all day! My mother was not one for aprons, but my grandmother wore one every day! Usually a lime green one as it was the 60’s/70’s. I think my mother still has it somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I pictured him with that lens, flashing it back and forth to see better/worse/about the same. My mom always wore them and in her words, not mine, it was because she was short in stature, but big on top, so when she leaned over to stir pots on the back burners, her chest would get in the way … so she wore an apron to make sure she stayed splatter free. (Never a problem I had BTW.) Plus I think she was so used to wearing a cobbler’s apron, that she just put it on, even when not cooking/baking.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow that is the craziest thing I ever heard of….tonsil regrew! You should have set that ceramic tree up, there is still time. I used to bring my grandmas up from her basement every year. It was her only decoration. When she passed I asked for that tree and It goes up with all the rest of my decorations and I look at it and think of her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I had never heard of tonsils growing back either Diane. He said the former doctor left a tiny piece of tonsil behind – I should Google it, as this was before the internet was around, or I had access to it. Who knows … maybe the odds are like winning the Mega Millions lottery? Because it is a small house, things are tucked here, there and everywhere – most of the Christmas decor is downstairs. Some fragile ornaments are in a cupboard in a bedroom in the den upstairs – I took a few out as I’m going to write about two of them for Christmas. These pictures show we did not put out much that year and after that year we started going go to a lot of Christmas craft shows where we bought rustic-looking or Country-themed ornaments and also we ordered some collectibles. I have a burlap bag with a snowman peeking out – bag is kind of big and a snowman’s body popping out of the top and it likely is stored by itself in a Rubbermaid tote. I have pictures of all the Christmas decor in its heyday, but I don’t know where they are – it is a shoe box I believe and when I scanned in all my family and travel photo albums on Thanksgiving weekend 2017, I never thought to look where those photos were or I’d have scanned them in too. It took me an entire four-day weekend to scan in all those pictures and they need to be tweaked as some are six on an album page and need to be enlarged and screen shot taken – it will be a job and a half to create the albums to where the pics are perfect … I have all albums, no loose pics (except the Christmas pics) so hard to take great scans when in an album. I think they might be with the decorations downstairs so I knew where to put everything. We had a few collectibles like Precious Moments and a Snoopy & Charlie Brown train and so I knew where and how I set it up. It did take one whole day to put up and another whole day to put it away, but it looked festive in the house – it does not look festive now to be honest. Next year I’ll put up the tree at least. One ceramic Christmas tree was made by a friend of the family – she took a class and got a potters wheel, even got a kiln and had the house rewired where she used it in the basement. I think she told my mom that she made a few outside flower pots, Christmas trees for friends and family, then tired of this hobby … she is gone now, but that had to be 25 years ago. The other tree is more special. I collected teddy bears for years and my mom bought me a Boyd’s Bear ceramic Christmas tree – it is bears climbing up, sitting on and peeking through the tree – I’ve not put the tree up since 2008. It lights up and is very cute. My mom ordered it from the Danbury Mint for an early Christmas present for me. I don’t think they sell it anymore, just looked on their site, but here is a picture of it. https://www.danburymint.com/prod/9DE/BXT-01/Boyds–Bears-Christmas-Tree-Sculpture

      Liked by 2 people

      • OMG you have Christmas paradise in your home. That tree is SO CUTE!!!!! I need to find my old photos and scan them too if they are even decent anymore. It’s nice you know where everything is at.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I know – it is the cutest thing Diane and the lights are very tiny on it, not like the other ceramic tree lights which are like Christmas tree lights; these even came with extra lights which have to be put in with tweezers. I had to scan the pictures in because when I got a printer with scanning capabilities I went into the albums to scan some pictures to put in an album on Facebook as I saw others had done and I noticed the overlay was not sticking in some places and in other places there were stripes of gummy residue on the pictures. Not only that, the side binding of each page, the binding just fell away as I opened up the albums so the pages were no longer hooked onto the posts … it is a mess and hard to keep together, so I bought an Epson color scanner and went to town with it. It was a big job and I have all the pictures handy on Shutterfly where I store them, plus put I did a flash drive as well. I wish I knew where those pictures are – there was a shoebox full of odds and ends pics that had not been put in the album as I ran out of pages and they no longer made that type of pages. They are in the house somewhere. I used to be very organized, but since blogging not so much. 🙂 Correction: now, not organized at all!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Mackenzie says:

    Heritage park is just beautiful! It looks like the most peaceful place. Also, I adore these throwback photos!! And the geese- hahah . Love it. Have a great weekend Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you enjoyed this post Mackenzie … yes it is very peaceful to walk around this Park.

      I love old photos and I spent an entire Thanksgiving weekend 2017 scanning in all the family, friends and travel albums, even scrapbooks from back in the day. It’s been fun to look at old pictures – I never took the albums out because they were buried at the bottom of a cupboard and now the pics are handy to look at.

      Enjoy your time off on school break Mackenzie – hope DJ is done and you two can relax a little after your very hectic year.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. susieshy45 says:

    This is such a classic post- I can read and reread it over and over again- so much to take in- you are very beautiful Linda and your mum is too. I noticed the aprons that you wore. I had my tonsils removed 1976- grade 2 maybe. A piece of tonsil remained behind? Its possible.
    Really jet lagged still, though it is 12 days since I landed. Timings all off. I am glad the weather is good there.
    Bless you, Linda
    Loved the bows too.Everything about your post is interesting, an old world charm.
    I think the ornaments you have must be the old fashioned ones- made in the USA ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Susie – I am glad you enjoyed this post which is part whimsical, part nostalgic and part nature – a good combo this time of year I think. Thank you for the compliments for both of us too – this was 32 years ago and hard to believe that long ago. My mom was thirty years older than me and always looked much younger despite all her medical woes through the years.

      My mom (and I) were wearing the aprons I wrote about in the Summer. I should have used this picture when I wrote about the aprons that we were wearing in this post. In fact, maybe I’ll edit that post to include this picture. This was the post and you read/commented on it – see the photo at the end:

      Amazing that your jet lag has lasted this long – before you know it, it’s time to head back to school and then you’ll need to get over THAT time difference. I’m guessing you start back to school on January 13th? You likely have no school for Martin Luther King Day on the 20th of January though.

      Glad you got a kick out of the red bows I adorned those Park geese with … had fun doing this. We had a lot of old-fashioned or country-themed ornaments, but these are geese that are still around the house and all decoys and some in ceramic or wool … there are lots of ducks too and a few swans and roosters … my mom collected birds and I collected bears for years. All of them are made in the USA … take care Susie. Enjoy being home … you had a trying year … pat yourself on the back for acclimating to the whole school experience, not to mention being far from that is what is familiar to you, and of course your family as well! – Linda

      Liked by 1 person

  7. we always make sure our Geese have fresh red bows tied around their necks before we let them fly south!
    I bet your tired of Jello!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Prior... says:

    Wow – the tonsil root grew back? What an ordeal! Glad it worked out! Also – enjoyed seeing you in 1987! This was such a pivotal year for me so i always perk up when I see that year! Nothing too major – but my first apartment – some parties – work and college life – and a lot of growing up!
    And I cannot imagine dusting all those goodies – love the phrase about putting on the last bow !

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      One of the best things I did was scan in all the family, friends and travel albums, even the scrapbooks, over Thanksgiving 2017. The house is small and all these albums were tucked away in the bottom of the closet and now I can see the photos and pick and choose them for posts as well. I had intended to write a post about those old photos for this Thanksgiving or Christmas season and time got away from me. Hard to believe it was already 32 years ago since I had this outpatient surgery – the snipping took just a few minutes he said. I had never heard of a tonsil growing back either – I was Lucky Pierre I guess (now there is an outdated expression). I do not like dusting and on the top of the kitchen cabinets is a row of duck decoys which rarely see even the long-handled duster. No one can see up there and I shut my eyes to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the bows that you added to the geese! We do some interior decorating around Christmas but, since we don’t have kids or grandkids, nothing too fancy. I have to admit that not putting up and decorating a tree makes things a lot easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Janis – I’ve become really lazy and there are no kids coming around, so that is my justification for not decorating … I always put up a wreath and a few small ornaments and that is it. And tie the goose bows. Next year I’m going to try and do better as I have a ceramic Boyd’s Bear tree that is very cute and the most effort required is climbing up and reaching it down from the cupboard and plugging it in. I had fun doing the park geese bows to add a little whimsy to this post.

      Liked by 1 person

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