Thursday, December 12, 2013

A most joyous Christmas memory




I love Christmas!! Always have and always will. I love the shopping, the cooking, the visiting and even the cleaning. Everything that goes along with making Christmas bright makes me happy.

Imagine my surprise when my granddaughter asked if I'd ever thought about doing Christmas in January? She'd been considering it so she'd have the money to buy everyone on her list, and those even remotely related to her a present. I used this opportunity to reveal my thoughts about celebrating Christmas and what it means to me.

I celebrate because one night, eons ago, a star shone so brightly that even Kings dropped what they were doing and journeyed on foot (or on the backs of camels) to witness this miraculous event.
Common barn animals looked on in awe as the newborn uttered his first sounds while his mother wrapped him in swaddling clothes despite the expensive gifts laid at the babe's feet. Even though only a few were witness to this event, here we are, thousands of years later re-telling the tale. Peace, Hope, and Love.. God's greatest gift to all of mankind. To be celebrated. To be embraced. To be treasured and shared in our hearts and in the hearts of our children and their children on Christmas day. Family and love is a gift all its own.


And then, because grownups love to talk about how things were in their childhood, I went back. A long, way back-in-the-olden days, and shared with her a Christmas memory of mine and what made it so special.


The Tree

It was the first Christmas my brother and I would have without my father living in the house, since he and mom had divorced. Back in the sixties, women made very little money and I can remember our mom was always busy, ironing clothes or caring for the old lady down the street. We didn't have much money to buy things other than the necessities, like food and heat. Presents were definitely not on the list.
Still, as December progressed, my brother and I believed something good was bound to happen. We had faith that Christmas would prevail...somehow.

A snowy Christmas Eve we were hanging around the Xmas tree lot (a roped off  part of the Marathon gas station)  and trying to decide which of the remaining trees were the biggest. We brushed against thick, fluffy spruce and I remember the sticky feel and smell of cedar pine clinging to my fingers. It was nearly dark and the attendant- Mr. Pen, asked us if we had our tree yet. "No," we didn't.

Well, he invited us to the pick of the lot, free of charge! I can still recall the thrill of holding the pointy top-end of the biggest tree left while my brother held tight to the bottom. Working as a team we marched home with our beautiful Christmas tree.

Mom was teary eyed when she opened the door, while we struggled to get it inside our apartment. She agreed we could decorate it but confessed there wouldn't be anything to put underneath it. "We don't care," we said, and grabbed the paper chains and sparkly Styrofoam balls hanging from the window ledge. We strung popcorn and mom hauled out a box of old ornaments. She told us how much she enjoyed stringing the silver icles and her face glowed as she carefully placed them, one long strand after another, shimmering on the tree. At some point she must have put on Christmas music because I heard the soft carols being sung in the background.

Finally, the tree was finished and she turned off the lamp so we could watch the red, blue and green flashing lights. I'll never forget the warm embrace as she pulled me onto her lap and how my brother crawled up beside her in the chair- crowded, cozy and content. And we sang every Christmas song we knew, in the dark, in the chair, together.

That was a Christmas to remember. And I've never forgotten how lucky I felt to have gotten such a wonderful tree. I'll always remember Mr. Pen, the nice old man who dressed in dirty coveralls and worked of cars and repaired bicycle tires, except for last part of December when he made room in his lot for Christmas trees and opened his heart to us.

Oh, and early Christmas morning I woke to hear someone banging on the door. I could smell cornbread and onions coming from the kitchen. I'd fallen asleep on the couch and was the first one to see my dad arrive, covered in snow and carrying an armload of gifts.

It was the best Christmas I ever knew.




Here's wishing you a most joyous holiday with family and friends.

Merry Christmas!!















6 comments:

  1. That's a touching story, Tere! Thanks for sharing it. Christmas is my favorite time of year as well, because it's a time for family and sharing and spending time together. I admit we used to go a bit overboard when the kids were little, but as they've grown older we spend less money and more time on each other during the holidays. So instead of a lot of gifts under the tree, we attend a special concert and have dinner at an upscale restaurant. Merry Christmas, my friend!

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    1. I feel the same, Betty. I treasure the time spent with my kids. I see how fast it slips by and use every opportunity to enjoy the season with them. Like you, we started doing a special evening together and each year chose a new event. This year we are taking a train ride - roaring 20's, that's sure to stoke warm memories. A very merry Christmas to you and your family and enjoy the magic!

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  2. That's such a great memory - thanks for sharing it! And you are absolutely right. It's mot about how many gifts you give or receive, it's about the memories you make. Have a wonderful & memory-making Christmas!

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  3. Thank you, Amber! So glad for your visit. A Merry Christmas to you as well. May your Christmas be over-flowing with holiday cheer and very special memories! : )

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  4. very nice Ter. You should write a christmas story. What is your favorite carol? I have so many. But I particularly love Have yourself a Merry little Christmas.

    Happy new year!
    <3 Merc.

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    1. When I was a kid, I loved to sing 'Away in a manger' but now I think my favorite is Dean Martin singing Baby it's cold outside'. For our writers group one year, I wrote a Christmas story and the final scene (somewhat changed- to a prodigal son returning) bundled in snow carrying lots of packages.Funny how events in our lives shape our writing. So glad you stopped by. Happy New Year Merc!

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. You're awesome!