Holidays at the Cappleman house features good company and critters

John and Julie Cappleman’s home becomes a warm place of good food and open hospitality during the holiday season. For those strays and folks kept from their families because of fire and closed roads, it became a refuge filled with good cheer and plenty of outstanding food.

The philosophy is based on leaving your petty concerns at the door and join in on the best wishes of the season. While the company enjoys spirited conversation mixed with some tall tales, Mama Cat observes all from her perch between the antlers of a record buck mounted on the wall overlooking the company of lesser two-legged creatures.

Her kids come and go more like shy spirits than substantial beings, while mom rests in security above it all. From the kitchen come all the wonderful smells of turkey, taters, gravy, rolls, etc. All those smells keep the kitties a bit restless as if even they know a feast is in the making. Knowing John as I do, they will get their share.

We all sit in the living room sharing in the general good feeling and looking forward to the end product of Julie’s work over the last couple days. Of course, that means that the chief architect of the meal works alone in the kitchen with a little help from John. There is a reason for that; the kitchen ain’t big enough for more than one and all the magic that is being created.


There is a sameness amid the differences within the company of guests in that we have all chosen to live apart from the general population for reasons as varied as the personalities involved.

Driving up to the house two things were obvious; a herd of turkeys and steady rainfall. The birds were merely a pain and none of their relatives were the featured guest at the dinner table. But the rain marked the end of a terrible and devastating month of fire and heartbreak.

The Camp Fire was moving up the Feather River Canyon and had reached as far as the Arch Rock Tunnel. This rain finally put an end to a fire that had taken on an evil and aggressive aspect. What this meant was something to be truly thankful for on a day set aside for just that purpose.

Christmas Dinner came with a smaller gathering and prime rib instead of bird as the main course. Once again, Julie created a meal to be remembered and the giving spirit of the season provided all the sauce anyone needed for a fine holiday celebration.