The Cubs won the World Series, Army beat Navy, and some semblance of sanity may be creeping into Washington. Altogether it was a decent second half for 2016. My morale is high and I aim to keep it that way. It does not matter to me what holiday if any you celebrate or what deity if any you worship. None of it offends me unless your idea of celebrating includes preventing anyone else from celebrating. So have yourself a grand old time. My main concern is that the Russians may have hacked Santa’s naughty and nice list and Wikileaked it leaving lump of coal recipients across the land demanding investigations and flailing for excuses.
In our tiny house on the hill last year, we had 2 Granddaughters, a Son and Daughter-in-law, a Sister-in-law, a Niece, and Grand Niece and Grand Nephew. Pendry manor was bursting at the seams with happy noise coming from all directions. We filled practically an entire pew for the candlelight service. And Santa visited the kids, young and old, right after. My Granddaughters were hoping for a white Christmas, unfortunately the temperatures were around 70. Still, it was a special Christmas, the best in many years. The day after Christmas we took everyone to Washington DC touring . On December 27th, the temperature there was 76. There were more people at the Smithsonian and on the Mall than you would encounter there on a summer day.
I remember Christmas from my youth. My brother Jerry, may he rest in peace, and I would trudge further up the hill from our house and roam through the woods until we found a decent looking tree to take down with a crosscut saw. He generally did the work and carried the heavy end of the tree back to the house. He did not need me to tag along and slow him down, but I am sure Mom convinced him that he did and I am grateful for the memory. Not long after he was in the Army and ultimately off to Vietnam. Not so long ago, he stood final muster. Merry Christmas brother.
I also remember my Mother’s molasses stack cake with applesauce between the thin layers. Does anyone make those anymore? Then there was the first thing I always looked for beneath the tree on Christmas morning, a bag of hard candy with my name on it. Our Christmas tree always sported candy canes that disappeared a few each day as they did when our Son was home and growing up. It was something revisited when our Granddaughters were here. Although these well mannered young ladies were hesitant to take one from the tree, Grandpa talked them into it. Unfortunately they did not share my childlike passion for peppermint candy canes, but they humored me.
I was the Lone Ranger, Red Rider and Zorro. I took my six-shooters, sword and mask to school. No one called the swat team. Had they, practically every boy at Wyoming grade school would have been carted off to the pokey for toy guns and pocket knives. Along with the other half dozen boys who got the same thing bought from the same coal company store, I thought I looked rather snazzy in my Zorro hat and cape. If we were not having cap buster gunfights or playing mumbley peg we were playing tackle with a new football someone got for Christmas. Those were different times – grand but very different.
Train tracks primarily used by coal trains formed a border between our school and the rest of the neighborhood. It was from those very tracks that my little league baseball coach announced to our principle and the rest of us down on the outdoor basketball court that President Kennedy had been shot. One day a train was stopped on the tracks. During school recess, Sammy, Bucky and me crawled between and under the stopped coal cars and went to the coal company’s store to look at the toys. The result was one of my frequent visits with Mr. Stoneman’s board of education. Not sure if it was the thrill of climbing through or under the rail cars or the following whoopin that helps the memory remain clear. Certainly it is a Christmas memory worth keeping. May you recall your good times.
From Suzie-Q and me and our family to you and yours, have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.