Saturday, December 21, 2013

Writing a book...and celebrating

Just two of our 68 horses
Twenty-five years ago this month, my husband Peter and I flew to a New York auction and bought the former Minnesota State Fair carousel. We carried a letter of credit from US Bank for more than a million dollars; it was a loan to our nonprofit organization backed by the City of St. Paul. If we hadn't pulled off that purchase (and a lot of fundraising to repay the loan), the 75-year-old carousel would have been broken up and its 68 horses sold to private collectors. Instead, our volunteers have restored the carousel and operate it for the public under the name Cafesjian's Carousel. We'll celebrate its 100th birthday in 2014.

By many measures, we should not have been able to succeed.But we did, and now, all these years later, I'm writing a book about the history of the carousel including our campaign to save it. I put off this project for years, but we want the book published before the carousel opens for its centennial season on May 1. So I won't be writing a lot of inspired blog posts in the near future, but I'm trying not to disappear entirely.

for Thanksgiving.
Making pumpkin pie...
So I'm indulging myself with one sweet grandchild story. We picked up the kids after school yesterday (Friday) and brought them to our house, where their parents would pick them up an hour or two later. Both kids do lots of real cooking, but they still enjoy their toy food and make-believe cookware. Augie had decided Wednesday that we would have a tea party Friday afternoon.

Having holiday tea...
In preparation Augie laid out a scarf and a doll blanket near the Christmas tree, and on them he placed our tiny plastic tea party settings. He hauled in the big ceramic pot that he uses as a soup kettle and tossed in toy vegetables, which "cooked" for two days. We cut a real tea cake and brought out some grapes, and we used holiday mugs for individual beverage choices. Augie was so excited to stir the soup and serve the cake and make sure everyone was having a good time.

and dancing The Nutcracker
ViMae decided that her contribution would be to act out part of The Nutcracker, using the big nutcracker from our mantle. She danced with grace and joy, and then Augie joined in as the Toy Soldier and Daddy became the Mouse King. The Toy Soldier lost his sword, "Clara" threw her shoe, and the Mouse King was vanquished. Hurrah!

I relished all of this, knowing that the light was too dim to get good action shots but that the memories will live forever in the hearts of the lucky "audience." Whatever your holiday circumstances, I hope that you will rediscover some sweet memories from the past and make a few new ones to carry you forward. 


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