And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Remember.....

The dreaded lace table cloth. At Grandma's house, this is one of the terrors I face. Combined with the wobbly cranberry dish, I am guaranteed to spill something and ruin it. This is our Formal Christmas. Everyone sits in their assigned places at the long dining room table, and the young ones are expected to be seen and not heard. The best part of the meal is the fancy goblet that my milk is served in and the pretty little salt and pepper shakers at every place setting. I feel just like a princess sipping from such a fancy glass. Bro and I fight over who gets to put all the salt and pepper shakers away after the meal. It is so fun to line them all up pretty in the china cabinet.

After the meal, the children are excused to the living room while the adults linger over coffee. We are not allowed to open gifts until after all the dishes are done and put away, so we spend our time looking at the tree. Grandma has wonderful ornaments. My favorites are like jewels dripping from the branches. Each has an opening cut in the front revealing a view into a miniature little world. There is one with a little house, another shows a couple of deer sitting on a woodland hilltop. I love those ornaments. I imagine all sorts of stories about the inhabitants of that tiny land....



Remember...


We are at the other Grandma's house now. Funny how I always think of my Grandparent's homes as belonging to Grandma instead of both of them.

It is amazing that we all fit in this little house. I wonder how Grandma managed to raise 4 boys here. Books line the walls of every room, and views from every window are blocked by a forest of houseplants. Grandpa leans into the TV, his bald head shining through the few strands of hair he has combed over the top of his head and secured with Brylcream (a little dab'll do ya).


Here the children are allowed to be as loud as they want. I suppose it helps drown out the sounds of Grandpa's wrestling program and the Traditional Holiday Argument. The Uncles always argue at every family gathering. It is a Family Tradition.

The food is all laid out on the dining room table. There is no room for anyone to sit there, so we all take turns filling plates and finding places to sit. The kids get to sit at a card table in the front room, and the adults sit wherever there is a little room. Things are cheerfully chaotic, with presents spilling out from under the tree and filling the living room floor....

Remember...

We are decorating the tree at home. The tree is so huge, it seems to touch the ceiling and fill the room. I love all the beautiful ornaments that Mom and Dad have made over the years. They even let Bro and I hang all the ornaments that we have made. This year, I get to hang Mom's "12 Days of Christmas" ornaments. She made them herself, and their pearly green glaze is so elegant looking. There are ball ornaments that have been made with ribbon and beaded pins. I think they would not be out of place in some royal treasury. I always make sure to hang my star ornament as near the top of the tree as possible. I made it in Nursery School (or somewhere). It is just a little salt dough star with an "A" written on it in glitter. The "A" is for Angel, and I am always a little embarrassed by it. Mom was puzzled when I brought it home, thinking (like most folks) that it would have been more appropriate for me to write my own initial on the ornament. The truth is, it never occurred to me...

Remember...
I wait, breathless, as Grandma Jo opens the gift I have brought her. My great aunt taught me how to make beaded ornaments, and I have made some to give to each of my Grandmas. The package is opened, and Grandma Jo lifts out the blindingly colorful candles, candy canes, and wreaths that I have made her. She smiles in that special way that makes you know deep down that she really means it, and my world lights up with joy....

2 comments:

Lynne said...

Thanks for sharing your memories Barefoot. This post is a treasure.

Finding Pam said...

I think we all have a lot of similar memories. I am glad to see that you love decorating for Christmas and the girls do too.

I like your new Christmas colors on your blog. I love that little chicken too.