The image? A new favorite. Very lovely, I think. It was once part of the choir screen at Chartres Cathedral but was removed and BURIED when architectural fashion changed. Apparently its burial saved its life; it was rediscovered and is on display in the crypt below the cathedral, one of the few places we did not go this summer. I didn't feel any need to pay to see the relic of Chartres: the shift which Mary allegedly wore when giving birth to Jesus and the reason why the cathedral has been re-erected repeatedly after the various fires that have destroyed it. If I had known about this sculpture, I would have gone downstairs ~ oops! guess we'll have to go back.
It was a nice but exhausting couple of days, ending rather abruptly earlier today:
* my father visited for two days en route to my stepsister's in Chicago for Christmas. We enjoyed his company tremendously, although I was unable to manage much in the way of hostessy behavior -- I slept through an entire morning and then there was all that shopping. . . .
* a Christmas Eve morning service, a Christmas Eve evening service with the whole family at our previous and magnificent Methodist church (see yesterday's picture), a Christmas Eve party at which we learned that some members of our close circle of friends had been felled by an intestinal virus that the rest of us began to await with trepidation, and a midnight service at our Presbyterian church which my son and I attended together. The Lovely Daughter's response the next morning, when I commented on how odd it was to be packed into a church at midnight with so many people whom I had never laid eyes on before, and how some of them were sitting where I usually sit: "So did you tell them to take their finicky faith and move it to another pew?!?" (The Lovely Daughter, one notes, was not in attendance herself.)
* a lovely time opening presents on Christmas morning with children who no longer rise at 4:00 am to ascertain that SC has been by, whose wants are simple, and whose gifts to others reveal thoughtfulness and generosity
* one last afternoon of cleaning and preparation
* a dinner with friends of two decades (excepting the several brand new victims of the intestinal menance), sitting and conversing for hours and remembering years when we were lucky to grab five minutes of adult conversation. Among the children are seven born in the summer and fall of 1984, meaning that there were years when among the 30-40 people present were seven four-year-olds, and then seven five-year-olds, and then. . . you get the picture.
* the boys and a friend from kindergarten onward conversing in the kitchen as we fell asleep sometime after midnight. The morning revealed that they ate leftover stuffing from the fridge instead of the dish I left out for them, did not refrigerate the latter, and left the doors unlocked when they went to bed. At least they unplugged the tree lights, so the house still stands.
* a trip to the in-laws, shortened by the arrival, at 2:00 this morning, of the puke-every-hour-or-so thing. After much discussion of what to do when five adults get sick/are about to get sick, three of us have come home, having decided to make the drive before we couldn't, and two of us are asleep three hours away. If they can't drive tomorrow, their grandparents will keep an eye on them but will, I hope, stay physically away and not succumb themselves. Sigh.