Let the season begin!
While I have been taking my break...
I decided to work on some stories about Christmas
the way it was when I was a kid.
Because Christmas is special to children...
and infects all their thoughts and ideas...
in a way that does not affect adults.
So here is my warning...
these are stories,
and they are wordy!
If you are looking for short posts,
I do understand and you are welcome to look elsewhere.
But these are memories near and dear to me,
about a time that was magical.
I credit each and every one with to my parents,
who worked very hard to make
Christmas very special to all of their children.
They were the best parents that I could possibly have had.
I believe you will see why.
Here we go... I hope you enjoy the ride.
Oh Christmas Tree!
The first weekend in December was dedicated to our traditional activities...
It began with boxes and boxes of decorations for the tree and house,
pulled out of their home in the closet that ran under the stairs.
Mom would set them out on the dining room table,
the big coffee table and here and there on the window seats.
Mother hated messes...
and this was a messy business.
But for once, it was a mess that she honestly loved.
Each item was taken from its nest in the tissue,
newspaper and paper towels,
and gently inspected for damage.
There was always damage...
bulbs that were broken or burnt out,
fragile ornaments that had shattered or cracked.
She morned each and every lost reminder of her favorite memories.
Between the balls, bulbs, light strings, garlands and angel hair...
lay her favorites;
all the dopy, sappy ornaments made at school
from bits of paper, glitter, photos, macaroni and pipe cleaners
and the baker's dough ornaments made at home by our little hands.
There was a set of glass birds with spring legs attached to alligator clips
with feather tails from her own childhood trees.
One bird had lost a leg and flopped to one side,
but still made his home in our tree.
Dad called it
"the drunk bird".
She would work through the morning...
enjoying the memories they conjured up,
sharing them with us.
We laughed and smiled
and shared our own stories as
each ornament came out of the boxes.
"I made that!"
The house smelled like oranges poked by cloves,
and her stew perking in the kitchen.
This was Christmas tree ornament day!
We were kept busy hanging up and
laying out the house decorations.
Setting up small winter scenes...
a pair of ice skaters on a mirror...
snow men conversed in their snowy angle hair fog
("Don't touch your eyes!")
on the sill of the window at the place where the stairs landed and
split toward the living room
or the breakfast room on the other side.
There were candles here and there...
angles, santas, snowmen, gingerbread boy and girl...
and always fresh bayberry candles in
the giant brass candle sticks on the mantle.
Red satin bows were tied to their necks
to match the big bow on the front door
with it's cascade of sleigh bells.
The following few days fir boughs and
sprigs would find their way
around picture frames, mirrors, and across the mantle...
and cedar garlands
would be hung in swoops under the crown molding.
Mistletoe was hung in the center of
the french doors to the dining room.
We peeked out the windows...
waiting for Father.
Hurry, hurry, hurry home!
The bigger girls would help mom push
the love seat around the room,
until mother was satisfied with its temporary home.
This made room for the tree between the
built-in bookcases with their leaded glass doors
and the high,
short and wide window with her antique bottle collection,
that would glitter with the reflected tree lights.
The excitement of the day was contagious...
anticipation grew by the minute
and every car that entered our street made us hold
our breath... until it passed us by.
We'd groan and wait for the next engine sound.
Once the ornaments were all unpacked...
the boxes were filled with the wrappings and
tucked back under the stairs.
The rug under the place where
the tree would go had to be vacuumed...
and we showed a rare enthusiasm for the task.
Then the sound of the Buick in the driveway
inspired us to gape out the window.
"Don't smudge the windows!"
Father walked smiling into the house,
as we rushed him...
and he announced the same line year after year...
"Hey! It looks like Christmas in here!"
as he tired to cross the room to kiss mother,
with a five pack of little bunnies hanging on tight...
all chattering wildly.
But there was diner to eat yet...
before the best part of the day.
None of us had to be told to hurry or finish what was on our plates...
and no one asked for seconds...
unless Father did,
then you might as well have another
bit of stew or chunk of cornbread.
The oldest bunnies would snatch up dishes
and wisk them away to rinse and put in the dishwasher.
One of us would wipe the table and counters down.
Another would take out the trash...
all without being asked,
which made the parents smile.
Father would stretch and threaten to read his newspaper...
all the bunnies protested and groaned.
But instead of stopping at his chair...
he would take his jacket from the hall seat,
that looked like an oak throne...
causing the bunnies to hop into their coats as well...
and run to get the best seat available in the car.
The sleigh bells jangled on the door and swayed.
The station wagon doors slammed.
The engine roared to life and the Buick backed out.
Someone would begin to sing and we all joined in.
"Jingle bells! Jingle bells!"
Extra loud on the "Hey!"
Look out tree lot... here we come!
The story continues tomorrow...
see you then!