It’s A Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

In Canada, Boxing Day: the 26th of December, the day–so the carol goes–that “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen, when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.” It’s the day we traditionally pack up our skis and head north to the Leelanau Peninsula to glide through snow, “deep and crisp and even.” This Christmas season, however, our journey northward would be closer to home–to Fremont, Michigan–where we visited family.

We arrived in Fremont the night prior (Christmas) in the swiftly falling snow. After unpacking, shoveling, and enjoying some wine and a simple desert, I ventured out into the midnight air armed against the cold with a cigar and flask of Glenlivet 16 Nadura. The walk took me down the picturesque main street of Fremont where a solitary soul shoveled the walk in front of an area business. The whole scene was reminiscent of Christmas Eve in downtown Bedford Falls from Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Upon my return, I rejoined family for the end of A Christmas Story. My wife and I then retired for a long winter’s nap but not before beginning J.R.R. Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales.

We awoke on “the Feast of Stephen” to sunshine and a brief reprieve from the near-constant snowfall that we’ve know this winter in western Michigan. Those who know me well know that certain meals evoke the joy of a child on Christmas morning. On this day, Christmas came twice. First, in the form of a Christmas brunch. Then, later that evening, in the grilling of steaks from a mature Highland beef of nigh 10 years maturity. Each meal was crowned by a simple–but elegant and festive–winter desert: red wine poached pears with vanilla bean ice cream. If these two meals formed the bookends of the day, between them we found time to explore fresh powder on cross country skis. Our day ended as an epilogue in our neighbors’ living room while, in front of the fire, we sipped hot chocolate and eggnog. Life, you know, can really be wonderful.

Poached Pear

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