Kathy Manos Penn is a native of the “Big Apple,” who settled in the “Peach City” – Atlanta. A former English teacher now happily retired from a corporate career in communications, she writes a weekly column for the Dunwoody Crier and the Highlands Newspaper. Read her blogs and columns and purchase her books, “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday” and “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch,” on her website theinkpenn.com or Amazon.
Kathy Manos Penn with Lord Banjo
As I pondered what to write about for Christmas, I mentally thumbed through previous columns on Christmas music, Christmas cats, and Christmas trips. What would it be this year? Initially, I considered favorite childhood Christmas gifts.
Spying yet another buck passing through our front yard expanded my thinking beyond Christmas gifts to thoughts of my favorite things year round-the things that inspire awe or a sense of contentment. With a nod to Richard Rodgers and Julie Andrews, here's what came to mind.
No matter that I see deer daily, I always pause as they pass through the yard. Some, like the bucks, are majestic. Others like the Bambis, as I call them, are adorable. Watching the adolescents kick up their heels and nip at each other brings a sense of joy.
Seeing a hawk take flight or land nearby is an awe-inspiring sight. Not long ago, we spotted a wild turkey strutting through the backyard. How wonderful to have our own private nature preserve.
What would we do without our four-legged children? Whenever Banjo is snoring gently at my feet or Puddin' is purring in my lap, I can't help but smile and sigh. On chilly nights, Puddin' joins us in bed and lies tucked against my side or on my back. I try to remain still so as not to disturb that little ball of warmth. Banjo? He contentedly lies by the side of the bed, and these days, I wake him in the morning instead of vice-versa.
The first sight of bluebirds inspecting the house put up especially for them is an early spring pleasure. There seem always to be two couples vying for the right to move in, and the colorful scene is a delight.
Similarly, the sound of the Carolina wrens singing on the back deck is a sign they'll soon start readying the nest between the screened porch and the chimney. They return to that spot year after year, and we look forward to the chirping babies come summer.
When it turns cold, I'm reminded that the fire in the woodburning stove is one of my favorite things. Unlike some fireplaces, it's not only pretty; it also puts out heat and provides cozy warmth throughout the winter.
Add a snowy day, and I'm in heaven-as long as I'm not stuck on the road. There's something indescribably peaceful about the silence experienced during a snowfall. An undisturbed yard of pure white is a sight to behold. Undisturbed, that is until we let the dog out the front door. That's a comical sight-Banjo frolicking in the snow, especially when it's deep enough to tickle his belly.
Any time of year, books top my list of favorite things. My day is not complete without reading a few chapters before I turn off the bedside lamp. Somehow, cold weather makes reading even more pleasurable, and the emails from the library alerting me that a book is waiting for me make my day.
This time of year, it's only natural that Christmas decorations make my list of favorite things: the crocheted angel tree topper, the bubble light nightlight, the colorful glass Woolworths ornaments that were my mother's, my Richie Bear from Rich's, and the two stuffed bears from Lord & Taylor's.
My list isn't lengthy. It's a list of the simple pleasures in life-the things that bring me joy. What's on your list of favorite things? Whatever it may be, I wish you and yours joy this holiday season and throughout the year.
Find Kathy's new book "Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch" and her collection of columns, "The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday," on Amazon and her website firstname.lastname@example.org.