Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Eve - A Simple Chinese Supper

There is no such thing as simple Chinese when Janet and I decide to get together for our meal before the present exchange.  She does Kung Pao and Chinese vegetables, Laynie brings Ginger Beef, and our house brings a broccoli-chicken stir fry, some egg foo yung and some deluxe fried rice.  What can’t be beat is the dessert – try to find anyone else eating apple crumble from fruit left on the trees on the property, and top is up with some D-Dutchman French Vanilla ice cream.  Doesn’t all of that sound like an event in itself.  The moment Rebecca missed was the one where Duncan looked at pictures on Janet’s wall and said, “I had to look at those pictures twice since I recognized them.  I think they are the Four Seasons from the National Gallery in London.  That was enough to have the rest of us at the table drop our chopsticks.  The Pillings had been skiing and had been physically subdued by that event, that is until the present exchange game began. 

Rebecca explained the rules, the presents were on the pool table, and the question was asked, does anyone ever cry in this game.  “Oh yes,” was the answer, “and sometimes it is one of the adults”.  There were 12 of us and 6 Pillings – the gifts were all desirable:  a serious waterproof 80 litre back pack (the kind a tree planter might like); a multi-purpose tool (good for a forester); 2 bottles of wine with beautiful wine openers (regifted into the present game); a set of ceramic glazes (everyone has always wanted midnight blue – at least the potters in the group); and a Collins World Atlas (yes, I bought that, I wanted that, and I had determined to get it back in the game).  On round 17 there was serious trading.  The Pillings could see that they will have to have a pre-game meeting next year to develop their own family strategy, one as good as the Carter-Johnsons have refined.


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