It's been a month since the RRR blogged.... and what a month, Ranger Readers. Starting in November Mrs. RRR began getting the cabin ready for the Big Visits. Rooms were rearranged, cleaning done. We bought two new 6' tall bookcases and I sorted and organized and cleaned up the piles of books that were dripping off tables, shelves and chairs. Then the happy influx began. Our oldest Son, his wife, their two lovely daughters and handsome son arrived from Kentucky. His twin sister was the only one who couldn't make it... but with good reason to be explained later. Their younger sister flew in from Dallas with her husband and two more wonderful granddaughters. Then youngest Son, his wife and daughter arrived from Monterey, California. At last Grandpa and Grandma Ranger drove in. My Dad and Step mom. 16 people to spend Christmas. Such a happy, wonderful time. We all ate a huge meal. Then I read the Christmas Story from the book of Luke and we at last opened presents. I got more books which will show up on my next reading list. Mrs. RRR gave me a new set of uniform trousers for my Sheriff's work and a set of clunky cool Russian Army wrist compasses and a brand new Mora, Swedish Army sheath knife. Grandpa and Grandma Ranger... gave me the money to get this year's hunting and fishing license.
But the greatest fun was watching the herd of grand kids open presents and play. It was such a happy time. And three days later the new fun began.
We all drove up to the Minneapolis area for oldest Daughter's wedding! Yes, she at last met the man of her dreams. I knew at once from the tone of her voice on the phone after she had first met him. He is a good fit into the Ranger household. Well educated, loves to read, and loves the out of doors. They were married in a large, formal wedding. The church was decorated with hundreds of roses. The sanctuary was full to overflowing. An orchestra played. After everyone was seated, seven of the bride and groom's nieces, all eight years and younger, and wearing fluffy little white dresses walked down the aisle ringing silver bells. Then a moment of silence and from the balcony started the moaning wail of Scottish Bagpipes. I took her arm and we walked slowly to the altar accompanied by the wild, winsome music of my father's heritage. At the front the preacher waited wearing white and gold robes. We stood side by side as the ceremony continued and she and her man gazed at each other oblivious to the rest of us. Then my line came..
"Who gives this woman to wed?" asked the preacher.
"Her mother and I do." I said in my bravest voice, trembling a little in my rented suit.
I turned toward her and we hugged. "You're the most beautiful bride in the world," I told her. Then I put her hand in his and went to sit by Mrs. RRR. The tissues youngest Daughter gave me before the wedding came in handy. Something seemed to be in my eyes. Oh friends, she was so beautiful and looked so happy.
The reception followed in the church basement. The food was great and so the companionship. After it was over, Mrs. RRR and I and my parents helped clean up down there while the groom's parents helped clean upstairs. The four of us stopped for coffee after and reminisced. Good times. Happy times.
Tonight Mrs. RRR and I took down the Christmas tree and packed away all the decorations we've accumulated over the years. We still have some of the original balls that we bought for our first Christmas together in 1971. How long ago that seems, yet in another way, just yesterday. We were so poor. It took almost every cent we had to buy that tree, two boxes of balls, a string of lights, and some tinsel. But there was no star for the top of the tree. I took the cardboard back off a note pad and drew a five pointed star on it. Then cut it out and covered in with aluminum foil. We punched a hole in the center for one of the little lights on the string, and we had our star.
I've looked at expensive "tree toppers" many times since... blown glass stars and angels... but none will ever replace that homemade one. It wouldn't be a Ranger Christmas without it.