Crafts people set up their booths inside the house this year. Last year people stood in line for hours for the free hot dogs, chili, coffee and hot chocolate. This year, there is a tent with a heater that allows people take off their coats as they sit down to eat. The grounds look like Christmas cards. Maybe we should try making Christmas cards or a calendar as a fund raiser next year.
Fluffed up Song Sparrows perch on the window sill of the nature center, then hop to the feeder for a quick bite. The snow is wet and makes terrific snow balls. It's a great day to attack dear old Dad.
Other neighborhood residents take advantage of the safe slopes to slide down the hill on saucers. Two girls sharing one have a hard time getting started, then they laugh as they spin in circles.
Buddy Freckles, the director's dog, stayed inside most of the day, but says that he loves playing in the snow. Entertainment included a handbell choir, followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus. As the crowds finally left at the end of the afternoon, one little boy came to ask a very important question. "Is that the real Santa?" he whispered. "What do you think?" I replied. With big glowing eyes he nodded his head. "Yes, he's the real one." "You are absolutely right. He is the real Santa Claus!" Anyone who will sit for and hour and a half, listening to the soft mumbles of children and acknowledging their wishes, is certainly the real Santa in my book! And he brought Mrs. Claus along to be sure everything was written down correctly.
I got a present too. Tavia's book about Bernheim Forest is now available for purchase, both at Bernheim, local book sellers, and online, and I got my copy on Saturday. 28 of my photos are featured, including two that fill entire pages! Sometimes I had to check the credit on a photo to see if it was Tavia's or mine, since I have many that are very much like hers in some instances. I started taking bird photos to help me remember what we saw on birding trips. I think they are pretty good, and tried submitting them in photo contests for a while. I never got recognized for them though, and gave up that effort. I don't really need recognition, but I must admit that I'm very excited about being published! Dick and I enjoyed remembering trips we made to Bernheim with his parents and our own young children. Today the landscaping is quite different than it was 25 or 30 years ago. We also looked at the pictures of friends who volunteer with Dick and our special friend Wren Smith, who taught us both in our Certified Interpretive Guide class. In fact, Tavia included a section on this opportunity. Whoo-Hoo! I'm published!!!