Her happiness recipe includes cooking, reading

I have some Christmas wishes for those who read this column, along with my thanks for your continued interest and support.

First, I wish for you to continue basking in the joy of gardening. I hear from many people they no longer are active gardeners, but that is not an essential part of being a gardener. Reading, watching and visiting are all important. Once a gardener, always a gardener,

so keep investigating and enjoying.

Next on the list is my wish you enjoy and appreciate family. Some of you got short-changed in this area, with a small family or one that lives far away.

I am so lucky to have mine close – all but my daughter and son-in-law in Nashville, but I talk and message with Vicki and Jeff frequently and they will be here for Christmas. We get together most Sundays, and my family is such a joy in my life.

Which brings me to the edible part of my Christmas wishes for you.

Cooking (and eating) are good experiences. Even if you live alone, as I do, it is good to cook at least one proper meal a day. With so many options for quick meals that are at least partly homemade, there is no need to close off the kitchen. That warm smell when you open the back door and step inside is a big part of the holiday celebration.

I am on a limited diet at the moment, but still manage to enjoy some of the (sugarless) Christmas goodies around. And baking gifts gives you the scent and the handling of all those spices and chocolate without any ill effects.

Even if your family is small, supplement with friends. That part of your life is up to you, and there is absolutely no need for anyone in this community to be lonely or friendless.

When I retired 18 years ago, I tried out a number of volunteer opportunities until I found the perfect fit. It may not happen at once; you have to find a place where you are useful and also enjoy what you do.

I had a few bombers on the way, but now am happy with Master Gardeners, the Commission on Aging, The Seneca County Park District and the Tree Commission as my major volunteer interests. From those organizations, I have made so many friends over the years.

Sharing the opportunities with like-minded people is wonderful and builds a community that enriches life immeasurably.

The last wish I have room for is for print! It seems likely, in the coming years, books and newspapers will transition into technology, but I am glad I will not live to see it.

There is nothing like sitting down in the morning with a slice of toast, three cups of coffee and The Advertiser-Tribune. I cannot get up from the breakfast table until I have finished reading and polished off the Jumble and the crossword puzzle, and an early morning appointment is a real nuisance. (I cannot do the puzzle on Sundays because the solution is right there, and I have to cheat, which spoils the whole thing.)

And my weekly trips to the library are such a joy.

So there you have the recipe for the holidays: Garden, cook, read and mingle.

Merry Christmas!

Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program. Contact her at janetdelturco@yahoo.com.