We made a special memory the evening of Thanksgiving: our family and remaining guests—14 of us from the 22 earlier in the day—loaded up and drove to Dahlonega, a small town in the north Georgia mountains, to visit the White House Christmas tree.

Apparently it’s against the law to drive an oversize load on the interstates on holidays. Since the truck driver lives in Dahlonega, he and the tree—securely enclosed on the back of a large semi—rested there from Wednesday afternoon until Friday morning, en route to their Washington, D.C., destination.



Handwritten notes covered the outside of the tarp.



The streets of the old square, in this historic town famed as the site of first U.S. gold rush, glowed with light, a Christmas wonderland.

We were charmed.





Afterward, we immediately smelled gas as we walked in our front door. The day was warm and I’d opened the window above the kitchen sink. Sometime, probably before we left, the breeze had blown out two burners set on low. The house was full of gas.

We opened the windows, turned on the fans, and sat on the back deck for a while, snuggling in blankets, talking, watching old Inspector Gadget cartoons on my laptop from our Netflix instant queue. When it was safe, we went back inside.

Among the many things I’m thankful for this year is the rotten egg smell that the gas company adds to natural gas.

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