25 January 2010

Father Thomas' Birthday

"If nothing else," I thought as I approached my first Alaskan Christmas, "it will be snowy."

And I was wrong.
I was so wrong.

It rained. Nonstop. For days. For weeks, actually, never showing so much as a flake of snow to encourage the skiers and snowshoers of Juneau. So we did what we always do when it rains interminably---we zipped up our raincoat collars a little higher, put our hands in our pockets, and kept walking the dog and going to work and shopping for groceries. In the grey rain. Christmas turned to Epiphany and Epiphany turned to mid January, and we found ourselves in Father Thomas' apartment, celebrating his 41st birthday with about a dozen friends.

What the outdoors lacked in warmth and joy, the inside made up with festive zeal. Lights were lit, 42 candles adorned a giant chocolate cake. An ice cream-making ball was produced and tossed and kicked from wool sock-wearing guest to wool sock-wearing guest, churning the cream inside to gooey goodness. Drinks were poured and passed. Gifts in bright paper, almost mocking the cloudy sky outside, were opened and applauded. Food was prepared and presented and eaten in abundance. Halibut enchiladas and corn salad. And for a few hours, surrounded by good friends, good food, and good drink, we all forgot about the rain outside as our galoshes sat in a pile next to the door, drying. When it was time for the cake, each person stood and told Father Thomas something they appreciated about him before accepting their slice. We laughed and we smiled and we joked and we thanked, and Father Thomas, ever the humble friend, sat and grinned through it all.

And as friend upon friend shared a smile and a memory...it started to snow.

1 comment:

SquirrelQueen said...

Aw, nothing like an Alaskan winter in Juneau. The few times I got down that way it was always raining. It sounds like everyone had a great time even with all the rain.