After I dropped John off at the Mall, he works at Hollister's; a California based young peoples clothing store. I was amazed at the number of cars in the lot and the number of times I had to come to a complete stop to let people cross from the sidewalk to the parking lot. Each one was laden with packages and I thought of all the years in the past that I would have been among them. Wrapped up warmly in hat, coat and gloves, trying my best to make Christmas merry for the people I love, especially the ones 4 feet tall or less. The truth about Santa is the taller they grow, the less they believed. I don't know any parent who isn't truly happy to see the end of 3 AM bottles and diaper changing duty, but we are reluctant to see the end of Santa.
My trips to the Mall for gifts have ceased. Replaced with shopping online and improving my check writing skills. There is only one person in my life who measures less than four feet and that is my youngest Grand daughter Olivia; she lives in Louisville. I assigned the purchase of Olivia's gift, from me, to her Aunt Rene'. Rene' is my youngest daughter. Despite living in Orlando Rene' sees her far more often than I do. Besides, Rene' has the ear of Santa so to speak. So I know I have selected the very best gift possible.
Although no small children live with use anymore, our house hasn't been totally without little people.
These two (Jason and Lola) and their mother (Laura) dropped in a couple of days ago and they were suitably impressed with our tree which we turned on for them to see before the timer did. They were on their best behaviour. By that I mean they looked but did not touch and ate the last slices of cheese and made sugar cookies with Lyn and sat still long enough to have their picture taken.
As I was making my way back to the house after leaving the Mall, I decided that I would be lazy and make the salad I wanted for lunch from the veggies and other stuff on the salad bar at the local market instead of fighting Lyn for counter space in the kitchen when I got home. So into the store I went in a hurry to get out of the cold, fussing every quickened step of the way. I wasn't wearing my really cold weather coat and I didn't have a pair of gloves with me.
Back in the car with the heater on high as I drove home I began thinking about what things; images, sounds, and smells says Christmas to me.
Here is my list, some with pictures and some not. There are no pictures for the sounds of the season the ringing of a bell beside a red kettle manned by one of many Salvation Army voluteers who braves the cold to help the needy. But I think my
#1. Is hearing Silent Night, Holy Night being sung. Hearing this song sung is truly my first memory of Christmas. I must have been maybe four and I was in church. I am assuming I was with my mother but I have no memory of her or the people with me, just the song being sung and candles burning.
#2 . When I was older I remember fruit at Christmas time. Oranges and especially tangerines. But its the tangerines, juicy and sweet, more than the oranges that does it for me.
#3. And so does Ribbon candy.Does anyone remember those pre-packaged plastic mesh stockings or how old you were when you first heard the story, "The Night Before Christmas" read? I remember the first, but not the second.
#4. And then there are poinsettias. They came into my life way way long after childhood. But for me Christmas would not be Christmas without at least one pot of them and truth be told the more, the bigger, the better. I remember for years I brought several pot to support the Hemophilia Society, but don't know if it is active here in Columbia.
#5. Fruit cake
I have to admit, I love fruit cake and must be one of a very few people in the world who does. But what do you do with nuts that never grow stale unlike a fruit cake which can be put down the disposal on or about January 15th without guilt.
#6 Nativity sets especially ones crafted by artist moreso than the mass producted ones, but any of them commemorates the reason for our day of celebration.
#7 Angels some of which never get put away
#8 Santa's, Old Saint Nick's, and Father Christmas's. My daughter collects Santa's and here are a few of them.
#9 A bowl of spicy hot chili and tamales on Christmas eve . I remember one Christmas eve being allowed to go with my father to the "Walnut Street Chili Palor" to bring home our Christmas eve treat. The chili and tamales were packed in white carry-out boxes with metal handle and each order came with oyster crackers. I was pleasantly surprised to find out years later that chinese take-out came in the same kind of box.
#10 Stars, the five pointed ones as well as the six pointed Star of David
#11 A lighted tree no matter how modest or grand
#12 For some reason I have never been fond of the movie It's a Great Life, but I am a sucker for Babe's in Toy Land, the original one with Laurel and Hardy.
# 13 The ballet, The Nutcracker. Didn't know how much I loved ballet as a dance form until I saw Mikhail Baryshnikov moving across the stage. As I neared home I thought my list could go one for at least a few more items, but as I turned the corner and saw our house I stopped with the best.
#14 A place to call home, and people who love you.