Stepping out into Winter

In the time since we gathered last year for Thanksgiving Dinner at my sister’s house, my father passed away and the percentage of all humans brought into the world by my sister who are married increased from 25 to 50 percent. Other than that, our Thanksgiving dinner gathering was much the same this year, which is to say comfortable and homey and happy. We all miss my dad’s quiet and yet foundational presence at the table, his enjoyment of other people’s merriment and of young people and their news. However, we knew he would not have wanted his absence to make us somber. The evening passed with much conversation and laughter and the eating of good food. I took no photos because I assumed the event would be exhaustively documented on people’s phones.

Non-commuters experience the busride as a fun thing.

Yesterday, Angela and I took the girls down to the beleaguered Seattle Center to see the miniature train village that they put up in the Center House every year during Winterfest. Mara and I have gone to it several times, but I don’t remember blogging about it before. The Center House has a lot of food vendor storefronts around a central gathering area and a stage in one corner. In previous years we saw tap dancers, break dancers, and singers of various kinds on the stage. But yesterday we got there so late in the afternoon that we had missed all the performances. The train was there, which held Millie’s attention somewhat, but Mara seemed to be obsessed with the candy store we patronized last year, whose storefront was now hidden behind a wall that separated the public space from a lot of remodeling construction going on. It was not open or even visible, but the memory of choosing several pieces of candy from this brightly colored and sweet smelling shoppe is evidently emblazoned on a part of Mara’s brain that has easy access to her tongue, which wagged the daylong with wonderings and musings about when they might open again, and whether we might possibly find our way to some other source of a treat.

With so many of the food vendors closed and no music, it seemed a little bit of a let-down to me, and certainly to Angela, who had not been along on earlier visits to Winterfest when it was more lively. But the girls were not disappointed at all. Because we were all together doing something outside the house, it was automatically a good time for them. Plus, we visited a balloon lady and got Mara a giant candy cane balloon and Millie a mouse balloon, which she enjoyed even after she untwisted most of it and all that was left was a little mouse head and a long tail. We spent probably an hour outside by the big fountain just watching people trying not to get wet and getting very wet indeed (it shoots jets of water in all directions in an unpredictable pattern and sometimes shoots all of them at once, and people young and old — even in the damp and cold of November — cannot resist trying to touch the domed base of the fountain without getting tagged).

It was a fun adventure and it struck me that it is not very often that all four of us get to do something like that together. I think it was Emilia’s first bus ride, too. It’s a taste of great family adventures to come. Just one more thing I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend. Here are some photographs:

Watching the trains

A miniature winter wonderland. What's not to love?

Mara getting to drive the train = two dollars. The thought of her doing this while wishing she was at the candy store = priceless.

Romantic pastoralist indoctrination or harmless wondermaking?

The picture of sisterhood begins to emerge.

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4 Responses to “Stepping out into Winter”


  1. 1 Tony November 27, 2011 at 08:52

    Love the “non-commuter”comment!! Hilarious!!

  2. 3 Mom November 27, 2011 at 23:32

    Was yesterday REALLY that wonderful? Weatherwise, I mean. Thepictures are priceless. What’s not to love???

    • 4 Matt November 28, 2011 at 00:01

      We were expecting to be thoroughly chilled on our outing, but it was actually nice weather for walking around when we got there. Yes, kids + trains = charming photos.


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