Holidays

Several things are on my mind to write about in 2017. One subject is grief, which I hope to treat extensively. It is a topic many find difficult, but few people escape life without experiencing it, usually more than once. Since this is true it seems it would be helpful to give some time to exploring what it is like, what we can do to help others through it and how we can prepare for it personally.

As readers of Crooked Creek, I’d like to ask you to consider participation as we go forward into new year. I would love to have your thoughts on my posts. I’m not asking for a “like” as on Facebook or a compliment on the writing (although I admit I do enjoy that). On any subject, I really would appreciate your sharing your thoughts, personal experiences or disagreement. I want this blog to be not a pulpit, but rather a forum.

religious-clipart-christian-free-religious-clip-art-imageWe can start now by sharing our childhood experiences for this time of year. While I’m sure there are many holiday similarities, I have no doubt there are also great differences. For one thing, we don’t all celebrate the same holidays. Some are made of legend, some are cultural or ethnic, others a mixture of fantasy and religion while still others are High Holy Days. My tradition is celebrating Christmas. I’ll go first and look forward to hearing from you about some of your early holiday memories (in the Comment space).


From my preschool years I have few memories. I have heard very intelligent people have memories from a young age, so I suppose that lets me out of the Mensa crowd. My memories before going to first grade are fragmentary and I am sometime unsure whether they are true memories, tales told to me over the years or perhaps just what I think I remember, because of old photographs. I will share two Christmas memories I have from this early childhood period.

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When it was time to put up a Christmas tree my Dad and older brother would take an ax and go out to find a suitable cedar. While they were scouting the tree and nailing cross boards on the bottom to make it stand, Mom and I would drag out an old cardboard box filled with decorations. The only object I can remember lifting from the box was a star my brother had, some previous year, cut out and covered with tinfoil. I thought it was so beautiful and couldn’t wait for it to be in place on top signifying the tree was complete and ready for Santa Claus.

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The one other memory from that time was a regular Christmas celebration at our small country church, Mt. Vernon Baptist. It was usually at night and sometimes there was a play with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. At other times a rather suspicious Santa would show up confusing kids who didn’t quite grasp where he fit in with the shepherds and Wise Men. Regardless of whether he made it, there would always be a paper bag filled with hard candy for each child. I liked the candy, because we didn’t often have it around our house, especially with the war going on and sugar being scarce. The year I clearly remember coming home from the church program it happened to be Christmas Eve. Maybe because I was full of sugar, or more likely as Mammy said, I had “spunk,” I wasn’t interested in getting into bed as I was instructed. I ran around our little house in my coat, hat and mittens trying my mother’s patience until suddenly I heard bells ringing out in the yard! I ran screaming to my bed and covered up, coat and all, waiting to see if the ringing would stop or if the sleigh would go away, on down Crooked Creek Road without stopping.

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It was many years before I was told about Mom sending Daddy outside to ring those bells.

6 thoughts on “Holidays

  1. I loved your story. Mine is a bit boring. We lived away from my Mom’s family and my Dad’s family never got together for the holidays. I’m not sure why. My parents did not go to church. So Christmas for me was just like any other day except for a couple of presents and a ham. The one memory I have is of my Dad’s Mom. Normally, she would give each of her (36) grandchildren a $1.00 bill. One summer, I spent a lot of time with her. She found out that I wanted a pair of “Bass Wejeens ” that my parents said were too expensive. That Christmas she surprised me with them. It was truly an act of love.

    So as an adult, I’ve always made a big deal out of Christmas. Always wanting friends and family around, going to church, the big meal and lots of presents.That at times has led to disappointments. The good news is now I have learned that everyone doesn’t feel the same way and I accept that’s the way things are. I still love Christmas and what it means and look forward to it each year with the enjoyment of a child.

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  2. Thank you for sharing! I love the picture of your Grandmother giving you such a special gift. Obviously, she knew you were worth that investment! It sounds like you had a very special bond and she inspired your Christmas celebrations of today. “Wejeens,” had not heard that in many, many years.

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  3. When reading your holiday story, I thought how I wished I had such a strong belief in Santa too.
    Such a beautiful story, and you still have that spunk!

    My holiday memories were all about family. My mother and grandmother were always busy planning the big family Christmas dinner.
    With all of my grandmothers traditional Italian food. Starting baking about a month before with her famous fruit cake, cookies, then the best pizza ever.
    Just so many goodies that I still crave for.
    But never had the recipes , because they were all stored in her memory.

    After all the baking , came Mr. Tom the 25 pound turkey and all the trimmings.
    Never really counted, but at least 35 family members enjoyed a Happy Family Christmas !
    A holiday tradition I would never trade for….

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    • Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas memories. I can picture the kitchen full of cooks and good food. Too bad that you do not have those recipes. I’m sure that they would taste so good to you today. Pizza as a Christmas food is very different from all the country dishes that I grew up with, but I sure love pizza and would enjoy trying an authentic one from your Mother and/or Grandmother. Mr. Tom, now that is something with which I can identify.

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  4. I came across a quote in Readers Digest (I am always a few months behind in my reading) that brought to mind this blog and some Christmas memories.
    When we became adults with young children in the family, there were more Christmas presents under the tree than the one item we received when we were young. When there were many presents to open, we took our time and each person opened a present while the others watched. For many years, used Christmas paper was neatly folded and bows saved for use in future Christmases. However over time, we became a throw-away generation and began just tossing paper on the floor, then gathering it and placing it in a garbage bag at the end of the evening. Over time, the neater members of our family started gathering the paper as it was tossed, making for a cleaner floor. However we still talk about the fun of opening those presents and how the floor of paper reminded us of how fortunate we were.

    Now the quote: “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” Andy Rooney

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    • I can really identify with the scene you’ve described Lula. We still save bows and also the decorative bags used so often these days. We always smile remembering my Mom (Minnie) and the bows. She never quite trusted us to save them, I guess, because she would be seen going through the trash double checking for bows that might have been discarded. Thank you for the Andy Rooney quote. I had not heard that. I miss him. He had a unique way of speaking.

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