Nearly every year, Sage, Daegan, and I go out for Christmas Dinner. Some years it is for Indian food, sometimes for Thai food, and one year I even went out on my own in search of Ethiopian food. But this year we went for Chinese food.
We got on the bus outside our house and ten minutes later we were at the restaurant which was nearly full of others like us who were not at home eating turkey or ham next to the Christmas tree. Greeting us at the door was this:
“Please do not take offering fruit” was posted in two languages at the altar just inside the front door. Next to it was another altar with more fruit and an identical admonishment.
Daegan and I ordered congee – a rice porridge with meat and in my case pickled mustard stem as well. The flavour was simple and good. To me it tasted like the sort of comfort food one might have when recovering from a cold. It was especially delicious with a bit of white pepper sprinkled on top.
We ate our dinner and then went across the parking lot to the Asian grocery I visited when I visited this library. The great thing about it is it has about four aisles devoted to nothing but sweets and snacks. We grabbed a few old favourites: green tea Kit Kats and peanuts with red and Sichuan chilli, and some other crackers and sweets we had never tried. After that we headed back home to enjoy our snacks together.
That, plus a brunch date with friends and a lovely afternoon nap was my Christmas. No tree, no presents, no carols. But it was still filled with friendship, fun and love. As it should be every day.