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One of the joys of Christmas–at least for me, and I suspect for many people–is that of cooking great food, and especially so if there is a big group of loved ones together in the kitchen who join in the peeling, chopping, untitled (3 of 12)stirring and baking. That’s the best way of Christmas cooking, even when it involves cookies that disappear as fast as they are taken from the oven. The second best way of cooking for Christmas is to do it alone, but in glorious anticipation of sharing with friends and family. I’ve been doing a lot of that latter kind lately, and my freezer is full of cookie dough of four different varieties, fudge, and date bars. On Thursday, I rolled out pumpkin rolls. Jerry doesn’t like to lick the beaters or the spoons, and there were no grandkids about, so I was forced into my own lickings. Not a difficult challenge.

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I prepared five of them and while they were cooling, I did this: Our weather has been frigid, with snow still on the ground. I stuck my feet into a pair of boots, pulled on a heavy jacket, and grabbed up a butcher knife. I went out the back slider, onto the deck, and into the back yard, where at the edge is a row of towering cedar trees. I reached high, pulled down a lower branch, and with my butcher knife sawed off a couple of green boughs. Back inside the house, I gathered up ribbons, paper, ornaments, and along with the cedar cuttings, I prepared five beautiful pumpkin roll packages. Yesterday, we drove to San Diego and gave them all away.

We knocked at each place and had four wonderful visits. We found our dear ones of the fifth house to be not at home–we had not called them–so by the front door, on a chair, we left their gift. On a little card I had taken with me, I wrote: With love, From Santa.

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One more thing. Are we not blessed people? Abundantly blessed to have a little bit of flour, a few eggs, and a can or two of pumpkin so that we not only have provisions for ourselves, but have excess so that we can wrap up some of our love and pass it around to a few who are dear to us.

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