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The (unexpected) little joys of the holidays

| January 2, 2022 12:00 AM

Here are a few of the quirky endeavors and serendipities that colored my Christmas this year:

While Christmas shopping in December, I was offered a free cup of coffee after buying some bags of coffee beans and huckleberry tea at a local coffee shop. I chose a dark blend and completed my transaction at the cash register. The cashier handed me my package and thanked me.

I’m sure I looked hopelessly naive when I asked her about the free coffee I’d been promised. She pointed over my shoulder and said, “It’s on the counter behind you.” How would I know since it was, well … behind me. Then she shared that the cream and lids were on a small table under the stairs opposite the counter where my coffee awaited me. So basically, by the time I’d turned from the cash register to the free coffee to the cream and lids and then headed out the door, I’d made a complete circle.

I thanked the cashier for “directing the show” for me.

On the way home, I told my husband Jim about it and we started laughing as we mentally retraced my path. There’s me, being verbally instructed step by step into turning 360 degrees to retrieve my free coffee.

But it was nice and hot.

I found a new recipe for royal icing — the kind that’s hard as a turtle shell a few hours after you’ve decorated your cookies with it. This year, I followed a recipe online that came with a long list of dos and don’ts, which I strictly obeyed. Long after my beloved butter cookies were tucked away in the freezer and clean-up was done, I kept discovering bits of royal icing still stuck to things — the floor, the faucet, the sink, the drawer pulls, me. When a bowl came out of the dishwasher with a bit of royal icing still adhering to it, I concluded that royal icing is forever, declaring it a “royal pain in the icing.”

The weekend before Christmas, while wrapping Glacier Park T-shirts for our kids, I noticed (thankfully) I’d bought the wrong size for one of them. Since I bought it in Apgar I had to exchange it there, which necessitated a trip up to the park.

Unfortunately, the blustery, snowy weather that weekend put a kibosh on venturing toward West Glacier.( I even checked Montana Department of Transportation’s webcams to verify the severity of road conditions.)

So midweek Jim and I sallied forth to the park, packing a picnic lunch, along with the T-shirt. Well, the shop didn’t have the size we needed, so we decided to exchange it for a lovely and quintessentially Montana present for our daughter’s birthday in March. After lunch at the Apgar picnic area where the freshly fallen two feet of snow had been plowed on Apgar Loop Road into 20-foot piles in places, and where a family from California was enjoying pummeling their young son, king of the hill, with snowballs as he defended himself with a plastic tote lid for a shield, we snapped some photos of the sun sifting through the clouds onto Lake McDonald, then headed for home, stopping at a popular gift shop in Hungry Horse where we quickly found a Glacier Park T-shirt that would fit the bill.

My shopping blunder had given us a fun, mini-vacation getaway amid some of the most beautiful winter scenery of the season.

​​Community editor Carol Marino may be reached at 406-758-4440 or community@dailyinterlake.com.

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