One more family Christmas gathering to go.
I know, we are already halfway through January but it just seems like once all the local celebrations are done, it takes a few more weeks before we can get together with my sister and her family for our Christmas. It has become a bit of a routine; we know that our holidays with the Fairfield-area part of the family officially wrap up the season.
Occasionally we have been able to fit it in as part of a New Year’s Eve-New Year’s Day trip but more often than not, it’s a weekend later in the month. There are benefits, of course: I don’t have to have everything purchased and wrapped for that part of the family before Christmas. If I find the right gifts, great, but it’s nice to have a little extra time and, if the perfect gift is on holiday clearance the week after Christmas, so be it. My sister used to try and keep their tree up until our gift exchange in January but now we settle for a handful of decorations, holiday-scented candles and a string of lights. It does the job.
It actually is a much more relaxed way to celebrate the holiday; just one stop for the day instead of trying to fit in three or four.
And speaking of relaxing … I was able to enjoy a great birthday trip to SAP Center for a San Jose Sharks game. My daughter and her godmother, my ‘California mom’ Gloria, provided the tickets for my birthday. They also included my daughter’s now-fiancé in the trip so the three of us headed out on Jan. 7 for a game against the Detroit Red Wings.
I have been a hockey fan for years, playing it on occasion on frozen ponds in upstate New York while growing up, cheering on a team where I attended college, then following a minor league team in Albany, the state capital, along with being a fan of the New York Rangers. Once I made the move here, the Sharks soon became my team and I have been blessed to see several games at ‘The Tank’ over the years.
Judd, my future son-in-law, had only been to one professional hockey game and that was when he was very young. So Ally and I had to make sure he knew the rules, posing for photos with mascot Sharkie before the game, doing the shark teeth motion when it was power play time, joining in the ‘Let’s Go Sharks’ chant, etc., etc.
We always seem to find ourselves surrounded by fans of the opposing team when we go to a game and this time was no different. No matter; we cheered louder. Detroit scored the first goal but San Jose got three in the final four minutes of the first period; my daughter and I jumped up immediately when the first one went in and we had to urge Judd to stand up. He asked if we did that every time. He needs to go to more hockey games.
No scoring in the second period. We decided to leave our seats for snacks before the third period and so did most of the other 17,562 people there. We got a popcorn bucket to share but my daughter also had to have her Dippin’ Dots (a tradition for her at hockey games) and that line was pretty long. Time was ticking down and Ally was closer to getting her ice cream treat when the third period started. The Sharks scored two goals in rapid succession in the opening minutes of the period while we waited for rainbow Dippin’ Dots. We could see the game on the TV monitor but it’s just not the same, especially when you are actually there. Making matters worse, one of the goals was by Ally’s favorite player, team captain Joe Pavelski.
Not to worry, The Big Pavelski scored another one for her while we were in our seats watching, so we got to holler and high five each other. We left with a great 6-3 victory and some new memories to cherish.
Even better, we had recorded the game and got to watch it later in the week to relive the fun. And they still won.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.