15 December 2014

The gift is small, good will is all

Much like other years, Mr. Fuzzy promised himself to get an early start on gift shopping and writing Christmas cards; as usual, an utter failure. At least this time there is an exogenous parameter to blame rather than procrastination or ADD: the day before Thanksgiving the power was out for about nine hours. The precise cause is not certain but despite being connected to surge protectors, a number of electrical devices were toasted, including but alas not limited to:  refrigerator light bulbs (3), DVD player and this computer.

It seemed like bad form to bother the county's sole computer geek over Thanksgiving so it was Monday before the computer was in his capable hands - and Wednesday before he pronounced that the hard drive was alright, only the power supply was cooked. Then a few more days for the replacement parts to arrive and be installed & tested. Eleven full days before the machine was back on the desk, whirring away. To be honest, Mr. Fuzzy had no concept of the extent to which this machine aided and abetted daily life. The camera is at labor nearly every day, sometimes for a single image, sometimes a series, sometimes dozens of unrelated images. Without the computer, I could not view, permanently save, edit, print or send any of those photographs. It was akin to being adrift.

Enough of that.

The title of this post derives from a small poesy vase made in the form of a book in England, January, 1688. Whether the potter made as a gift to his sweetie or at the request of a customer has been lost to time but the sentiment still rings true today.

Some of Mr. Fuzzy's friends are well ahead of him in holiday preparation and gifts have already been delivered at Stratheden Farms both in person and by post. It is unbecoming to brag, but he has the very best friends imaginable, and this has been proven by the gifts recently received.

Today a wee flat packet arrived from Scotland with an awesome array of stamps (see above) carefully applied; that degree of thoughtfulness was a joy to consider. The packet carried three objects safely across the frigid Atlantic: a contemporary Christmas card (as one might expect), the 2015 Lodge St. Andrew installation programme and a priceless wee treasure, a 101 year old pocket booklet containing the 1913 revision of the Lodge's Bye-Laws (the Lodge itself predates the year 1600 and the formation of The Grand Lodge in 1736). How these fragile nineteen pages have survived more than a century is something of a miracle but its is clear from detritus inbetwixt the pages, it was not secreted away inside a book or other protective element all of its life. It gives cause to wonder if the Brother who was the original owner survived the slaughter of Scottish soldiers in The Great War - and how many Brothers pockets held it (and contributed the seeds and lint between the pages) until the next revision superseded it. Held in the hands, it is almost an act of supernatural conjuring, connecting to those long deceased Brothers, to those living Brothers who brought so much joy and fraternal comfort to Mr. Fuzzy, and especially to Brother Morris who gave this inestimable gem to your undeserving correspondent.

Closer to home, a farmer/historian/mechanical wizard friend came by with two small gifts given with a large heart. He had taken Mr. Fuzzy's wailing and gnashing of teeth to heart and brought small gifts that evinced his Brotherly consideration (yes, a Lodge Brother, again) and generosity. To view them, they are diminutive but to the grateful recipient, they are substantial. The first is a pair of unassuming gloves, high visibility orange and black, which happen to be waterproof, insulated, nonslip grip, nearly abrasion and cut proof. Mr. Fuzzy seems to be experiencing the onset of arthritis in his hands, particularly triggered by being cold & wet. These gloves should go a long way to minimize such pain this winter as well as make labor safer. The second gift is  a small cardboard cube containing 325 rounds of .22 match grade ammunition. Anyone who has attempted to acquire such material in the last few years will appreciate the magnitude of this present. Thank you so much, Brother David.

A couple of days ago. my 85 (or thereabouts, a WWII veteran) year old neighbor dropped by to deliver three two-quart containers of frozen home pressed apple juice made this past October. Talk about mana from heaven! There is so much work involved in its creation, from gathering through pressing and bottling then a major clean up ensues. Truly a gift from the heart. Thank you, John and George.

That's not the end of the story but should become the end of this missive lest you, the reader, become bored or believe Mr. Fuzzy's behavior in writing of his blessings is less than untoward. It should be closed by saying that Mr. Fuzzy fears he is inadequate at being as good a friend to others as they are to him.

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