The Traveling Steve's

Merry Christmas Eve from The Traveling Steves!

It’s Christmas Eve as I write this, and Steve DOS and I will be leaving for the Christmas service at St. James in a few minutes. My brother Andy is organist and choir director there, and while the service doesn’t start until 8pm, the music starts at 7:30pm, which is always beautiful and befitting of this joyous season. Note: this post is written over the period of Christmas week, so forgive me if I’m jumping around a bit.

We flew up to Roanoke on Saturday afternoon (two days ago) and have had a nice visit so far.

All coach and cramped seats, but at least it’s nonstop!

Andy picked DOS and me up at the airport, and fortunately as our flight was nonstop on Allegiant from Orlando, all three pieces of our luggage made it intact and on our plane, something that in years past did not always happen. (Including the one year American lost all six of our bags, and when we finally picked them up at the airport the night after Christmas they were soaked thoroughly thru and thru like they had been dunked in a pool!) Alas, this was a quick and uneventful trip home to see my family for Christmas.

We were a bit rushed our first day in Roanoke, as we went to a play at 5pm, in downtown Roanoke’s Center in the Square. We had just enough time at home to shower and change, before taking Uber to the play along with Andy and Art. We were going out for dinner later after the play, and it was much more convenient than driving, not to mention having some vino with dinner. Here are a couple photos in the downtown Roanoke Marketplace as we walked to the play at the Mill Mountain Theater, which is located in Center in the Square.

The play was called “A Christmas Cup”, and was performed straight thru without an intermission; lasting just over an hour. It is a heartwarming staory about a woman who narrates the story of her Childhood Christmas’s, and is well acted out by the cast of children and adults. It was very professionally done, with large sets, and amazing vocals by the children during the caroling scene. No photos are allowed during the show, but here are a couple picture of Center in the Square and one of the stage before the show.

Lobby of Center in The Square, home of Mill Mountain Theater
Stage at Mill Mountain Theater

After the play, we walked around the nearby Hotel Roanoke to view the huge display of Christmas trees that are on display there, each uniquely decorated. We did this last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, even considering staying overnight and having dinner there, but like last year took some photos and moved along with the others.

Our dinner at Billy’s Restaurant was just up the street, and we were right on time for our 7:15pm reservation, although we had a slight wait since we had requested a specific waiter and larger table. We had a wonderful dinner of appetizers, Christmas pre-dinner drinks, and Chardonnay and Bordeaux Margux with our appetizers and entrees respectively.

After dinner dessert drink for DOS!

After dinner we Ubered home, and as it had been a full day went to bed shortly there after.

The next day, Sunday, we picked up my parents at the Elk’s Home, which is the assisted-living facility where they have lived for the last year, and took them to the Peaks of Otter Lodge for Sunday brunch. (They still have their house up the street from my brother Andy’s, which is where we stay when we are in town.)

The Peaks of Otter is a short 20 minute drive from the Elk’s Home, and is so named as it’s the tallest mountain top in the area. We had a wonderful Sunday Brunch, and unlike Thanksgiving when we were there, it wasn’t jam packed with people.

After Brunch we made a slight detour when taking Mom and Dad back to the Elk’s Home. We went to the Emergency Room!

I had noticed both Mom and Dad had a bad cough, and with everything going around this season I wanted them checked out before Christmas. As it was Sunday, there were no urgent care clinics open in Bedford (so much for convenience!) so we took them to the local ER in Bedford, which was probably for the best anyway as they did X-Rays, and got good care. As it was around 2:30pm, they were seen right away, although we were there for over two hours while they ran tests and then waited on the Doctor to examine the X-Rays and sign off on the release paperwork.

Fortunately Mom and Dad’s lungs were clear, although he did prescribe some medicine for their cough. The Doctor said it was good that we had then checked out, as five people from Elk’s Home are currently in the hospital there suffering from pneumonia. Although Dad was a bit confused why we took him to the ER, it was all for the good, and we felt much more relieved going into the Christmas week that they didn’t have pneumonia.

On Christmas Eve, we went to a beautiful service at Andy and Art’s Church, St. James Episcopal. As I told the minister and others we knew there, it was so peaceful, relaxing, and truly meaningful with the beautiful music, message, and communion. I had not felt this relaxed the whole season, and indeed it was fitting to pause and reflect on the true reason for the season.

Carla sings a solo with her beautiful Soprano voice
Andy plays the organ for the Christmas Eve Service

On Christmas, we spend most of the day at Elk’s Home with my family. In addition to Mom and Dad, Andy and Art, my sister Jenni, her husband Lawrence, and daughter Nikki from Maryland met us for lunch and later gift-opening. My parents have been at Elk’s just over a year now, and like last year the staff set us up in a private dining room which was very nice.

Here is a photo of the beautiful main dining room, which is adjacent to the private dining room where we had lunch.

After the noon lunch, we adjourned to the second floor living area down the hall from their apartment. While it’s a shared living room area for the residents on the second floor, it’s rarely ever used and we had the entire room to ourselves, as we opened up gifts with the family.

We had a wonderful Christmas with Mom and Dad, and shared lots of happy memories. I made Mom and Dad a photo book of some photos from the last few year as well as a 2018 calendar for their room.

By late afternoon, we had unwrapped the gifts, and it was time to head back to Roanoke. We said by to my parents, and gave thanks for such a wonderful time together on Christmas Day.

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