Suddenly it was December.  We had only been at Palm Creek a few days, celebrated Thanksgiving with our neighbors and now it was time to prepare for Christmas.  Since we had
arrived in Arizona about six weeks behind our normal schedule we also had to catch up with all our medical appointments.  Somehow over the years we have become patients of a
string of doctors and they all want to see us, test us and consult with us.  And so we began the rounds while fitting in Christmas shopping as well as some of our regular Palm Creek
activities.  We got in a few rounds of golf and some tennis games.  We refreshed our memories playing the game "Pegs and Jokers" with friends.  Tom and his bridge partner got
back into their winning ways.
What's Christmas without a parade to get you in the mood?  Many of the Palm Creek residents have a golf car, so early in the month of December they decorated their cars and had
a parade around the park.  Some of the owners were quite inventive.  Another night we ventured to downtown Casa Grande and joined the crowds to watch the city's Electric Light
Christmas Parade.  There were 99 entries in the parade from the city and a few surrounding communities.  Some of the floats were quite imaginative and unique, although quite a
few used the "Frozen" movie as a theme.  Of course, the final unit was the fire engine with Santa riding on top in his sleigh.  As an amateur photographer we found taking photos of
the floats in the dark of night a challenge, but we enjoyed the magic of the season!
This decoration was taller
than the golf car.
Drivers as well as golf cars were decorated for the season.
The was the Head Start float...a candy land for the kids.
A local church built Noah's Ark.
This was the truck from the local Frito-Lay plant.  It was filled
with snacks that were passed out to the parade watchers.
This was just one of several fire trucks in the parade.
Meanwhile, back at the park, as well as our daily "social tennis" games we have been playing in a Sunday afternoon mixed couples tennis group...always a fun group.  The bridge
players held their annual Christmas party with lots of food to share. (not many rounds of cards got played that night!)  And we enjoyed a lunch on the poolside patio where a
different specialty is prepared each Wednesday.  Our neighbor, Randy, was part of the entertainment one week.
An event new to the park this year was a "disc golf tournament."   Most of the players were from outside the park and several years younger than most of our residents and they
came with pull carts full of many different 'frisbees' as a regular golfer has clubs.  The chain baskets (holes) were set up on the park's golf course and the foursomes
of players made their way around throwing discs as a regular golfer hits with a ball and clubs.
just a few of our tennis buddies...
some serious eaters before the bridge game
They made throwing the discs look so easy!
Our new neighbor Randy is on the right.  He and his buddy
are a great duo, making a name for themselves in the park
Almost too soon, it was Christmas time.  We packed up our car and drove the 13 hours to Abilene, Texas to spend the holiday at the home of our daughter, son-in-law, and three
granddaughters.  Our son and new daughter-in-law flew in to join us for a few days as well....a great holiday.  We shared some wonderful gifts and had some great times just
relaxing at home playing games and also venturing to the local entertainment venue.  Naturally, there was plenty of eating, too!  It was a little chilly for a dip in the swimming pool,
but we did finish our visit with a bonfire in the fire pit and making some tasty "S'mores."
A family tradition...squeezing oranges for fresh juice and later making French
toast to soak overnight for Christmas breakfast.
Reid brought Kathleen for her first visit to the State of Texas.
Another tradition...Coffey read us "The Night Before Christmas",
although since we waited for Reid and Kathleen
to arrive, it was really  December 26.
There was plenty to share at Christmas dinner with Coffey, Close,
Merrick, Reid, Kathleen, Ann and Matt.
After dinner we divided into teams and played our version of a
combined 'pictionary' and 'charades'.
And there were some card games.
We introduced Kathleen to family go-cart racing.
The kids put on their "mean faces" before attacking
each other playing laser tag.
Kathleen took a ride on Abilene's famous buffalo.
We topped off our time together with a campfire
and making "S'mores."  Yum!
Too soon our family time came to an end.  Kathleen and Reid headed back to Michigan and we made the return drive to Casa Grande.  We "got out of town" just in time as Abilene
was hit with a terrible ice storm that lasted several days.  We returned to Palm Creek in time to spend a quiet New Year's Eve, endure Arizona's version of a cold spell, and catch up
on a few chores around the house.  We're looking forward to a great New Year and hope the same for all our friends and family.
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