Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Black Friday

This year Randy didn't cook for 70 people (Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort) or 121 people (Mission Village RV Park), or 10 people (Vista, CA), or cook 15 turkeys (Community Church in Riverside, CA). This year he just cooked for ourselves and Brenda and Woody, who drove all the way from Homosassa to join us. He brined the turkey the day before so it was juicy and tasty, and served it with dressing, sweet potato casserole, corn, deviled eggs, and yeast rolls, from an old family recipe. 
 And from a new family recipe (his own), he made that wonderful cranberry relish. 
We tried really hard not to eat ourselves into a food coma this year. But after dinner we had pumpkin pie, fudge, pecan clusters, and Brenda's pecan pie, so we didn't have much of a chance. 

The next evening Pete and Donna went with us to downtown Leesburg for their Christmas Stroll. The city blocked off several blocks and filled them with food booths, games, and vendors. They even have a snow run for sliding down on a round sled!
A local farm brought in a lot of animals for a petting zoo, and a few extra just for show. A large white goose with curly feathers was a big hit; he's a Sebastopol goose, and I think he's adorable.
A couple of Christmas Elves were walking around on stilts. When they stopped to talk to children, they would somehow lower themselves to a sitting position. I don't know how they did it, but the kids loved them.
In the town square was a 24 foot tree of lights. The lights kept changing colors as different dancing groups danced around it. 
The side streets were full of activities like wall climbing, pony rides, tractor hay-rides, a kid's "rock and roll" band made of very young volunteers, and a juggler who put on a good all-around show.
Leesburg is very proud of the fact that they have "snow". It's really tiny soapy bubbles, but they have the consistency right so it floats down like a soft snowfall. And it's not cold, so it's enjoyable as well as pretty!
The highlight was Santa Claus. He showed up at 6 and from that moment on, he was wonderful. He understood that the parents wanted great pictures; this guy was ridiculously photogenic.  He would swap hats or glasses with a child to make them smile. When he couldn't make a baby smile, he would put on a wonderfully goofy face, to make the picture memorable. But best of all, he spent time with each child, talking to them, holding their hands, giving hugs. He would look them straight in the eyes while they talked, as if they were the most important person he knew. As Donna said, this guy makes you feel like you've actually met Santa Claus!

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