I took this picture the day before Christmas, as Margie and I were finishing our shopping. On Friday, the 23rd, we had heard from Rex that Cortney would like a kuspik for Christmas. So we stopped at the Alaska Native Medical Center gift shop, but the selection was small and the sizes too big.
After we got home, I called Arlene Warrior to see if she might know someone locally who had either kuspiks or atikluks for sale. Kuspiks and atikluks are pretty much the same thing, but they tend to be kuspiks if made by the Yup'ik peoples of southwest Alaska and atikluks if made by the Iñupiat of northern Alaska.
Arlene told me she had a couple that were nearly finished, that she would be home alone Saturday and would complete them.
I did not wish to put her out on the day before Christmas, but she said this would give her something to do.
So Saturday afternoon we went over to the warrior house, where I saw the BB gun I had as a child hanging on the wall, and she had two atikluks ready to go. Margie liked the darker one and I liked this one - with the blueberry-raspberry print.
Arlene would not let us pay anything, because she says she doesn't know how to charge and so only sews for family and good friends.
I would have tried to find a way to pay, but I had just shot the wedding of her daughter and I don't know how to charge, either.
Now, it is Christmas morning. Santa was still in the house. We were all very surprised at how tiny he was. We wondered what had happened to his white hair and beard.
As we waited to open gifts and eat, Jobe took a stroll in the backyard.
So did Kalib. I still find it hard to believe he is growing so big and handsome.
Four dogs had gathered with us. Here are three of them: Rex and Cortney's new pup Akiak, Cortney's Kingston and Lavina and Jacob's Muzzy, who is well known on this blog.
Lisa and Bryce arrived bearing gifts - even as it is written in holy scripture that wise men, shepherds, noble men and others arrived bearing gifts to a tiny baby born in a manger in Bethleham over 2000 years ago. So we gave gifts on this Christmas Day, because they gave gifts way back then.
Jobe opened one of his many presents with his feet. It was a sled.
Margie used her hands to open this gift from Lavina, which turned out to be a beautiful basket that she had brought on the trip back to Arizona that Margie and I missed when she went into the hospital for emergency surgery and I was in some of the worst stages of my continuing battle against shingles.
Jobe jumped right in.
Rex gave this baseball bat to Lisa and Bryce. Rex had once seriously hoped to go pro, and this is one of the bats he had used to knock the ball around.
Charlie received some beard socks.
I am not sure who received this book, Charlie or Bryce, but something in it had them both amused.
I was curious, so I had them show me... oh, no! What kind of book is this? And why didn't my mother give me some of this medicine?
The raspberry-blueberry atikluk had a cut more to Melanie's fit than Lisa's, so Melanie got it. Lisa wants one now.
Cortney in her new Arlene Warrior atikluk.
Margie offered the blessing.
And then we ate... and ate... and ate...
I was too busy eating to take pictures of the food items, but Jake's squash did not come out of the oven until I thought I had finished and had left the table.
Jake came up with this recipe of squashed stuffed with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, walnuts, pinons or whatever he feels like putting in it after reading about how the Wampanoag brought squash cooked with berries and nuts to the first Thanksgiving they shared with the Pilgrims.
It is the best squash dish that I have ever eaten, bar none.
There were many more gifts, of course. I will not try to recount them all.
One came courtesy of our niece/cousin/aunty Sujitha. After dinner, I assembled that gift and then it became the center of joyous and excited attention for hours.
That gift, and all that followed in its wake, will be the subject of part 2. I probably won't post it until mid to late Tuesday afternoon.