Part Three

The house smells good when I come in from the garage. It is December and Sar is baking holiday treats. She says she can't stop what she is doing to hug me and to give her a minute. I come up behind her and hug her while she stands at the stovetop. Sar is stirring chocolate and caramels. I see a spot of flour on her cheek. I turn her head to kiss her and I taste the chocolate she has been sampling.

I want to know what is in the big pot on the stove. When I ask, Sar gives me a sweet smile. It is green clam chowder - this is one of her specialty soups. She makes the red kind and the white kind but it is the green chowder, Rhode Island clam chowder that I like the best. She makes it with razorback clams and rigatoni and green tomatoes and I don't know what else. This is a favorite of mine. I could easily make a meal out of it. I ask her if we are having it tonight.

It will taste better tomorrow she says but if I can't wait, she will let me have a small taste. I can't wait and she gives me a cup of it. I want more but Sar has made Cornish hens and wild rice for supper and she says if I clean my plate, I can have praline almond cheesecake for dessert. I give the imp a swat.

I enjoy the soup and watch as she stirs the chocolate and caramel mix into a chocolate batter. She says these are her newest decadent brownies and she's thinking about leaving some on a plate for Santa. You're planning to bribe him I ask. She nods in the affirmative.

I'm Santa-- this sounds like a good plan.

I give Sar gifts all year long. It is something I like to do. It doesn't have to be a big or expensive item, just a reminder that I'm thinking of her. No matter what it is, her face lights up. It is that look of joy that makes it all worth while.

Early in our marriage I sailed into port a couple days earlier than planned. I decided to surprise her with flowers. As soon as the car dropped me off I realized I forgot to stop for flowers so I cut a bunch from our front yard with my pocketknife. After the initial hugs and kisses, Sar finally noticed the flowers. She never said a word about the bare stems I was holding or the fact that they looked familiar. :) She giggled and I lost it. I had missed her so much and it wasn't long before the flowers and everything else in the world was lost as we said hello again in an age old way.

Every year before Christmas I bring home a small poinsettia as well as an amaryllis bulb. Sar has both plants in a variety of colors and through the years has managed to keep them alive. I am amazed they continue to bloom every year. At the holidays they are placed on either side of our fireplace. I still pick flowers for her but in my old age I occasionally remember to buy cut flowers for her too.

Our tree is up and it is decorated. A few packages mysteriously show up under it every day. Our stockings are hung. There are quite a few. One for Sar and for me, one for each dog and cat. There is one for David. He will show up before Christmas day and Sar will tell me to yell at him when he helps himself to his stocking before he is supposed to. She would be happy to kick him but he's a career marine and engrained with reflexive retaliation. He would love to spank her but he likes living with all parts attached. In her case he would toss her into the air until she cries "uncle." If I were in his shoes, I'd make her sample any food she put on my plate before I touched it. There is a stocking for Bull who will be shipping out again after the New Year. And there are extra stockings for our little friend Patrick and his mother who will join us for Christmas dinner.

My wife is full of mischief this time of year. I know what you are thinking. She is always full of mischief and that is true. At Christmas she is more of an imp than normal. I know she gives secret gifts to various people without letting them know they came from her. Some are "normal" gifts but others are "pure Sar." David has already received a holiday telegram sung by a contingent of off duty flyboys that extolled the merits of becoming an Air Force cadet. He was speechless. This was followed by a recital from 3 lovely females from our local air force base who listed all the things one can enjoy while flying an F-16 jet. I won't bore you with the details. Suffice to say there was a gleam in his eye. I told him I hoped that gleam was for the ladies and not for what he might be thinking of doing to Sar in the event he could prove she was the "donor" of this early holiday gift. I warned her that if David could prove she gave him that gift I would warm her butt. She told me I was a Neanderthal.

My driver has been secretive lately. I don't know what that is about but I suspect the birbantella has him up to other mischief. It's alarming how quickly she can get my entire staff into trouble and keep them quiet about what is going on. I am tempted to threaten to transfer them to Iceland or demote them until they tell what is going on but I fear they are under her spell and more afraid of her retaliation than mine. The odds are she has promised them good things to eat and like most sailors, love of good food is up there along with love of country and honor and duty.

A few days ago she took all 4 dogs to a school she likes to visit. The youngsters have special needs. Some are visually or hearing impaired and a few are in wheelchairs. I accompanied her to ensure that the animals behaved themselves. Sar's Rott and Mastiff are used to being petted and having their ears and tails tugged. The 2 other Rotts don't have as much experience with kids but Sar assured me they would be pussy cats around them. These attack trained dogs were gentle around the kids and I was again proud of the way she has trained them. It is possible they are used to our friend Patrick who wears leg braces and these youngsters were an extension of him. Regardless, I believe animals need to be supervised around kids to ensure all goes well. I could say the same about Sar but when she reads this I might be in need of that food taster.

The dogs spent a lot of time licking faces and wagging their tails. I noticed they ate a lot of cookies. Our Mastiff is a bit of a lush and Sar said the animal almost went into withdrawal because there was no beer to wash down the treats. When I complained that the dog has no business drinking beer, the imp said I should be grateful he doesn't drink my wine. Right. I gave her a swat. She makes sure the Rott does that.

The house is dressed for the holiday. The backyard has a nice coating of white and the bird feeders have red bows on them. The front yard has snowmen and women Sar built. The temps have stayed in the 30s so there's a good chance they'll stick around for a while. My wife has a perverted sense of humor.

We have quite a few deer in our area and while Sar is willing to give them a saltlick, she is unwilling to let them munch on her dormant rose bushes. Listening to her tell them that she's capable of roasting venison doesn't seem to deter them. Watching her swat them with a broom however, is a sight to behold. I suggested she put a leash around their necks and teach them to sit and stay. Let me add that it is never a good idea to give Sar any ideas I'm not willing to live with.

The imp is very excited about the holiday. For a few years we had to scale back due to illness or my military assignments. Last year I returned home just before Christmas and our holiday was a quiet reunion. This year we are making up for lost time. I have a number of surprises for mia adora and I am anticipating enjoying all the pleasure it will bring her. Will she get a Christmas spanking? The very sweetest.

Happy Holidays to all of you.


~ End Part Three ~

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