We were riding home in a cab last night when the driver thought the cab had been bumped from behind . He stopped and discussed the matter with the alleged culprit in the car behind us. Then he drove the cab a block or so away , to a quieter street , and the other driver followed , to continue to parley . I routinely expect the worst results from these situations . There’s nothing wrong with an uneventful cab ride , is there ?
Ada’s son was sitting up front. He suggested that the driver was fishing for a quick cash settlement . He’d make more on that kind of a deal than he’d make on our meager fare . Unfortunately the other driver was not in a mood to admit any guilt . Luckily the deliberations were short .
It was Christmas . I kind of thought that our driver might have had a little bit too much Christmas cheer to be driving a cab , anyway , but I guess I was alone in that suspicion . At any rate , the whole cash -for -crash thing didn’t work out for the driver , if that was what he had in mind . Evidently no noticable damage had been done to the cab , the other driver was entirely sober and resolute , and so the cabbie got back in behind the wheel and we all scurried along home on damp roads and paid our meager fare when the time came .
Earlier in the evening we were at a couple of friends’ house for Christmas dinner . There was fish and cold cuts , cheese , potato balls mixed with cheese , olives and tomatoes , and pickles . The hostess had made a delicious tart filled with sauerkraut . It had a lattice pie crust that was exceptional in look and taste . Oh , and we started out with mushroom soup made from wild mushrooms. The host had gathered them not in Poland but in Germany . He was explaining to us the German rules regarding mushroom picking and the heavy fines when the rules were broken . Ada and I have been mushroom hunting with this guy several times in Poland . He’s an expert and he knows the right spots , all secret , to find the most and best mushrooms . Anyway , the soup was delicious . Very delicious.
There are three days of Christmas in Poland . As far as I know , the big event is Christmas Eve . That’s when the big meal comes around . Ada prepares the twelve-course dinner every year . This year , although we are away from home , she nevertheless managed the meal in the same extraordinary manner as usual , as traditional .
Well , I say away from home , but we are at home here in Szczecin in our cozy apartment . So we are at home here too .
I never saw Santa Claus this year . I know that he was around somewhere , but I didn’t get a peek at him . I looked up at the sky a few times , but it was pretty cloudy and sometimes drizzly , and I never was able to spot him Or the reindeer. Or the sleigh .
Just after our Christmas Day meal with our friends , it came to our attention that an upstairs neighbor was lying out in the front yard. Ada’s son and his daughter had a small problem opening the front gate because the neighbor was blocking the way . Our host went out to address the issue . He returned several minutes later . He told us that the man had imbibed perhaps way too much alcohol , had an argument with his wife , and was outside taking a little break .
An hour or so later another neighbor , a woman , called to tell our host that she had been able to help the guy back up the steps . She had seen our host try to help the guy earlier with not so much luck . She wanted to tell him : problem solved ; Merry Christmas !
Oh , I didn’t mention that the Christmas eve meal is meatless . Remnants of religious meaning , as is the tradition of twelve courses . Christmas has religious meaning too , of course . We discussed that at dinner on Christmas day , how contemporary Polish Christmas traditions have originally been more religious than they are now , and how the early Christian church absorbed and co-opted some earlier pagan traditions . I was looking at the Christmas tree in the corner and thinking about this . But let’s not talk religion . Let’s not talk politics , either —– the old rules . Peace on Earth , after all !