December 31, 2005: New Year's Eve with Ron and Jay
December 17, 2005: Jay's Birthday
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December 24-26, 2005
Christmas Festivities



Christmas Eve with Tom and John


My usual tradition is to cook a Christmas ham on Christmas Day, and have as many people over as possible. This tradition was developed early and used often, but the reason has more to do with the dearth of invitations to Christmas dinners elsewhere. There aren't (and never have been) many friends of mine who cook, and, even when someone does, their situation isn't often such that they can also issue invitations. So it was actually a welcome change from tradition that Fred and I had received an invitation weeks ago from Tom Harris and John Evans to come to their house on Christmas Eve for dinner.

If you've looked at very much in this photo album already, you've probably met Tom and John before. But if you haven't, I might mention that Tom works as a computer radiology technician at Southwest Medical Center down near Parkland Hospital. We met him originally through Mike Racke; he lives in Oak Cliff near Lou Acevedo, and they also knew each other previously. John Evans works at the MADD National Office in Las Colinas, and he travels and conducts grief counseling seminars both for other MADD offices and for private corporations and organizations as well. This was the year that the two of them moved in together- John giving up his condo in Irving to join Tom at his house in Oak Cliff.

Tom and John are both very nice people; they have experiences quite outside those of Fred and I, so there is always something new to learn from them. Tom is a gardener, which fits with Fred's interests, and John collects Lenox china figurines and other antiques. An awful lot of them. Their house is now quite full, but done in excellent taste.

We arrived at Tom's house in the early afternoon, and we were among the first to arrive. Tom and John had already set a beautiful table, and we could tell that there would be about ten or twelve people for dinner.

Tom and John had set out some hors d'oeuvres on an antique side table for guests to nosh on while they were busy getting things set up. For once, it was a pleasure to just sit around and talk to people without having to be constantly in the kitchen getting my own meal ready. But there was certainly a lot of activity in the kitchen, and you can view some candid shots of this activity by clicking on the thumbnails below:

As Tom and John got things ready, about seven other guests arrived. Fred and I did not know any of them, so we had to just jump in and introduce ourselves and attempt to keep all the individual stories straight. You can see some pictures of the party conversation and the various guests (and a good many of John's antiques) here, here, here and here.

Along about four o'clock, everything in the kitchen was ready, and we all got called to the table. There are a couple of pictures of all of us getting the table ready here and here. Tom and John did an extremely nice meal- turkey and all the trimmings- and prepared some delicious desserts as well, and Fred took some pictures of us enjoying the meal that you can look at here and here. The conversation was animated; one or two of the guests were here from out of town. One guest brought a CD of some "questionable" Christmas music, and since that gathering it has been one of those situations you only have to allude to and everyone remembers. In any event, Tom and John were excellent hosts, and we hope to be invited back again.


A Christmas Gift from Greg


About three months ago, Greg told me he'd found a wonderful picture for Fred to add to his buffalo collection, and that he was having it shipped to Dallas. Actually, the artist himself was bringing it at the same time as he was bringing some other, larger works to cities and towns between his studio in Palm Springs and East Texas. He was bring a particularly large work to a big house up on Preston Road, so I met him there and took delivery of the picture for Fred. It has been in the closet upstairs until this evening, when I brought it down to the Christmas tree in the living room. I'd talked with Greg this morning, and he asked me to let Fred open it tonight, and so that is what we did.

Here are two photos of Fred with his new artwork. The first is a close-up of the artwork. It is actually, if you can believe it, a photograph, taken with such high-quality digital precision that it can be blown up to almost 3 feet by 2 feet and still retain absolute clarity. It is, of course, a buffalo in a forested winter scene. And here is another view of the the artwork and its proud owner.

Fred was very pleased with the gift, and called Greg on Christmas morning to thank him. Before heading off to bed, we decided to take a picture of ourselves with our pristine Christmas tree- the perfect end to a very nice Christmas Eve.


Christmas Day


Actually, I've forgotten at this writing what all we did on Christmas Day. I do know that we decided to postpone having our Christmas Day dinner until the 26th for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted Tom and John to come over, and since we'd just had dinner at their house the day before Christmas, it was a bit too soon for another big meal today. Also, Frank and Joe were going to be over in Fort Worth visiting Frank's family, and we thought there might be a possibility they could come for the midday meal on the day after Christmas. Finally, surprise, surprise, Fred had the day after Christmas off.

So the first item of business was to open the gifts under the Christmas tree. I got a bunch of DVDs, a lot of vitamins, two valuable proof coins and a whole bunch of other things from Fred and a few friends. Fred got more stuff for his buffalo collection, stuff I'd been holding aside, in some cases for four years, so that he'd forget where and when I'd bought it.

Then we went up to the Bentley Manor to have lunch with my mother. I also took a movie of my mother that you can watch using the player at left.

I took a number of other pictures of my mother today, and if you would like to see them, please visit the "Special Album Page for 2005" titled "Olga Dougherty - 2005." To get there, return to the 2005 Index.

We took in a movie in the afternoon, but beyond that I've quite forgotten what all else we did for the rest of the day.


A Visit with Frank and Joe


Frank called early on the morning of the day after Christmas and confirmed that they'd be able to come spend the day with us and have a delayed Christmas dinner. Fred and I also invited Tom and John, partially to return the favor of our dinner with them on Christmas Eve, but mostly so they could meet Frank and Joe.

Frank and Joe arrived about ten-thirty, and Tom and John shortly afterward. Before dinner, we had a chance to sit around and converse. Tom and John were very interested in where Frank and Joe lived and what kind of life they led, so the conversation never flagged. I made a movie of Frank describing the Hill Country to Tom and John, and you can watch it with the player below:

And below are some pictures of the group of us in my living room. To see a full-size picture, just click on its thumbnail:


We Go to See Brokeback Mountain


The movie, Brokeback Mountain, had arrived in theatres a week or so ago, but we had intentionally waited until Frank and Joe came to visit so we could all go see it together. We invited Tom and John to accompany us, but they had to do some stuff at home before joining us for Lynne Richardson's Boxing Day party (see below). So, about four-thirty, Frank, Joe, Fred and I went over to the Magnolia Theatre to see the movie.

It was as good as we'd thought it might be, and it was a little bit more special seeing it with Fred's oldest friends, who also happened to look the part.

Although I could have picked a better background than the parking garage, I had a passer-by take a picture of Frank, Joe, Fred and I after the movie.

Frank and Joe had to leave to go back over to Fort Worth, so we said goodbye here, and Fred and I headed home to wait for Tom and John to rejoin us about seven.


The Boxing Day Party/Trish's Birthday


This year, Lynne combined her traditional Boxing Day get-together with a celebration of Trish's birthday. (Trish is another expatriate Brit who is one of Lynne's close friends, and her birthday was in a week or so.) Tom, John, Fred and I went over to Trish's friend's house over east off Mockingbird for the party. As are all of Lynne's gatherings, it was a mix of all different kinds of people, many associated with the arts. All I took here were some candid shots, and you can look at those here, here, here, here and here. I also took a couple of movies, and you can watch them by using the two movie players below:

It was an enjoyable party, and a good way for everyone to end their string of days off.


December 31, 2005: New Year's Eve with Ron and Jay
December 17, 2005: Jay's Birthday
Return to Index for 2005