When my grandfather was still alive he use to host many of our holiday parties including Easter and Christmas Eve. Both affairs would have my family making sure the day before that all the food presents and clothing to be worn were all set. Then the following morning we would pile into the car with our traveling clothes and set off. Once arrived and having done greetings and “can I help with anything?” was directed at our grandmother we would start helping and helping ourselves to whatever food platters had been set out on the table; usually including a big plate of smelts for my grandfather. Their house was of a comfortable size but once all the aunts, uncles, and cousins arrived, there was little room and little need for the furnace to be on. Spilling from the living room through the kitchen, dinning room, foyer and even, if the weather permitted, to the outside patio. There was always plenty of laughter and old stories being told along the new ones and more food than could feed an army. I always remember these times fondly and many times around the holidays I wish I could revisit them. However, with his passing so did these traditions, now my family makes new ones for smaller crowds. While still full of smiles we still keep the wood stove burning.