Showing posts with label Christmas memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas memories. Show all posts

Dec 5, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Day 11: Faye Remembers Christmas



Faye
I remember Christmas. I’d start thinking in late September about what each person in my family would like for a gift. Barb was always the easiest to buy for, because…books. She didn’t much care what kind as long as it was something she could learn from. And she could learn from mystery novels about motives and justice, from classics about life and integrity, or from Bill Bryson about just about anything. She honestly didn’t care what she was reading, as long as she was reading.
Retta wasn’t hard to buy for either, but for a different reason. She told you what she wanted, in detail, with directions and a price range. Sometimes it was written down, just to be sure.
That left Mom and Dad, who always said they didn’t want anything. That’s such an unsatisfactory answer to “What would you like for Christmas?” but it’s what we always got. Dad was funny because for some strange reason, the man who never shopped would go out late in November and buy himself new underwear, socks, and undershirts. He wore the same suit to church every Sunday and had a farmer’s disgust for things like bathrobes and bedroom slippers. Apparently real men get completely dressed before they leave their bedrooms in the morning and stay that way until bedtime. For Dad then, there wasn’t much to buy except new, bright-white handkerchiefs.
And Mom? What do you buy for the woman who spends her life making everyone else’s life easier? It seemed unfair to buy household goods or aprons. Mom shared any gift that could be shared, so chocolates or fancy teas was, if not wasted, at least not personal enough in my view. My favorite gift to her was a pair of earrings that thrilled her with their beauty. I was so pleased to see her wear them that first time that I didn’t notice until years later that she never wore them a second time. When she died, I found them tucked in a corner of her jewelry box, and as an adult, I saw how cheap and gaudy they were. I understood then that Mom would never have chosen them, but she'd kept them anyway. They mattered because I’d bought them for her and her alone, and she knew they were given with love.

Nov 28, 2015

30 Days of Christmas-DAY FOUR

Barb's Christmas Memories





I remember Christmas. We always went to our grandparents’ house for dinner. The times I remember best were when Faye and I were around eight and nine. Our cousins were all boys, and they lived in faraway Muskegon, so we seldom saw them. They were rough-and-tumble types, and I never enjoyed their company much, though Faye was always willing to play Monkey in the Middle or King of the Hill with them.



Dad and Uncle Marv, the sons-in-law, sat in the living room, smoking and swapping stories with Grandpa Lemmon. Mom, Aunt Marilyn, and Grandma worked together in the kitchen, each preparing her signature dishes. Grandma cooked the turkey, filling it with spicy stuffing and making delicious gravy from the drippings. Mom liked to do the salads, and I would help her clean and slice vegetables for tossed salad, pasta salad, potato salad, broccoli salad, and fruit salad. Aunt Mar was the side dish expert, and she’d bring a squash to roast, her famous brown-sugar beans, and some new recipe she’d gotten from her recipe-card club.



I remember bits and pieces of the men's conversations, mostly about agriculture or the hunting season just completed. The women talked of their children and the small irritations of mice in the house and stains on the linen tablecloth. Mom encouraged me to join in, but I preferred to listen, peering into the world of adults. I could never see my future as one of them, cooking for a dozen people and chatting about curtains.



Did I despise their small-town lives and homey talk? Never. I loved feeling part of those dinners, though I knew even then it was not be the life for me. I didn’t feel they were wrong. I was the one who was different, because I didn’t long for a kitchen to cook in or children to tend. Still, I loved watching them. They knew who they were. They knew what they were. Christmas was my chance to observe, though it often felt as if I were watching an alien species.

Everybody Lies

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