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Christmas week seems full of unlikely events — especially this year. Winter begins on Tuesday, the longest night of the year, and Friday will be Christmas eve. Among the unlikely events at Mitchell cabin has been the debut of occasional chirps, such as a bird would make, every minute or so in the morning while my wife Lynn and I are still in bed. I thought nothing of the chirps, but they kept waking Lynn up.

Eventually she traced the chirps to a smoke alarm in the peak of the roof over our upstairs loft. I then noticed that the chirping stopped when I turned on our wall furnace or lit a fire in our woodstove. Clearly, the alarm was not warning of smoke but of cold air, which may interfere with the alarm’s batteries.

Lynn is in process of hiring a handyman to fix the problem, but he faces the problem of positioning a ladder to reach the smoke alarm since it’s directly over a steep staircase. Before we’re done we may have to build a temporary tower.

When I was a little boy living with my folks in Berkeley, I made a disappointing discovery regarding Christmas. On the morning of Dec. 26, I hurried down to the living room where our Christmas tree stood, but there was nothing new under it. “I guess Santa Claus just comes once,” my mother heard me sigh. No doubt she told me I’d have to wait a year for his return, but to a little boy a year might as well be forever.

Birds hunt and peck for birdseed among the Christmas lights on the railing of Mitchell cabin’s deck.

In a normal year, we’d attend or throw a Christmas Day dinner, but with people staying home because of the Covid pandemic, about our only preparation for the celebration has been to string Christmas lights on our deck railing and on our tannenbaum, which we bought at Toby’s Feed Barn. (By the way, the song “O Tannenbaum” is German for “O Fir Tree,” in case you didn’t know.)

One last unlikely event worth mentioning is Point Reyes Station’s noon moo. A loudspeaker above the Western Saloon blares mooing up and down Point Reyes Station’s main street at noon each day. The town a couple of decades back decided a noon moo would be less intrusive than a noon whistle, and so that’s what we got.

These days, the noon moo has become an 11:45 a.m. moo, which can be confusing. Radioman extraordinaire Richard Dillman awhile back corrected the timing, but it’s now slipped off schedule again. Another unlikely event this yuletide.