Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Little Red Home (for now)

Hello from my new home. It is a woodcarving studio in Gadsden, Alabama. The shop looks like a little red school house. It is a long way from the swamp but I really like it here. The Carver is here almost every day.

This is the sign on the front door. I think it is a nice welcome to my new home.

He’s placed us on shelves and works with one of us every time he comes in.

 Today he picked some of us up and drew lines on us with a pencil. It kind of tickled but I like my new look. What do you think?

Here’s another tradition for your enjoyment.

Christmas is celebrated in much the same way in Portugal as it is in Spain. The Portugese enjoy an additional feast, called consoada, in the early morning hours of Christmas Day. They set extra places at the table for alminhas a penar ("the souls of the dead"). In some areas crumbs are left on the hearth for these souls, a custom that derives from the ancient practice of entrusting seeds to the dead in hopes that they will provide a bountiful harvest.

And here is a drawing by Kylee.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nick and the Carver

It’s finally time. We are all dried and ready to go. Today’s the day the man from Alabama comes to visit. Wait, I hear someone coming up to the house. It’s a different truck than usual and it’s not stopping at the house. It is coming to my building. The big man and his wife are walking to the truck and someone is getting out, and he is even bigger than the big man. I think this is Tom, the wood carver we have been waiting for. Everyone comes into the building and looks around. The woodcarver, I don’t know him well enough yet to call him Tom, begins to pick up many of my friends. Some he places in a box, some he puts back down. As he gets to me, I can tell he thinks I’m special. “This one is perfect for an idea I have,” he says. “I think I will carve him first.” The Carver puts several of us into boxes and moves us to his truck. He waves to the big man and his wife and pulls back onto the quiet county road. I am on my way to Alabama and I think I will know the Carver well enough to call him Tom before this is over. The next time we visit, I will be in Alabama.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Anticipating a trip

It’s me, Nick. Welcome to all of my new friends from Gene’s blog. He is a great artist and all around good guy but don’t tell him I said so. I hope you have been well since our last talk. I am almost ready for the next part of my journey. I heard the big man say that someone has been calling and asking about my friends and me. He is from a place called Alabama and he must come a long way to see us. I think the big man’s wife said is name is Tom. We are all looking forward to his visit.

I have to go now so they can move us into another building. A lot of you seemed to enjoy learning about my friends, so here is another fact. Keep believing. Bye.

In France, Christmas is always called 'Noël. Everyone has a Christmas tree, sometimes decorated in the old way with red ribbons and real white wax candles. Fir trees in the garden are often decorated too, with lights on all night.

Father Christmas is called Père Noël. The Christmas meal is an important family gathering with good meat and the best wine. Not everyone sends Christmas cards.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mrs. Geneva's Visit

Hello again. I am still sitting in my new home. The big man’s wife came in today. She’s really nice and I can tell she enjoys visiting me. She moved us around so that we can dry quicker. I will have to wait for a while before I can continue my adventure, so here’s another fun fact about my friends.

In the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated very much. New Year was the important time - when 'Father Frost' brought presents to children. With the fall of Communism, Christmas can be openly celebrated - either on December 25th; or more often on January 7th. This unusual date is because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the old 'Julian' calendar for religious celebration days. Special Christmas food includes cakes, pies and 'meat dumplings'.