It's Christmas time and with all the economy problems, job losses, etc., it's hard to get my mind into it. But, I'm getting there. Christmas always makes me think of my dad. He absolutely loved Christmas. It's a good thing, too, because there were 10 children in our family and he pretty much had to. But, he did love it, especially the bubble lights. From a little girl, I remember we always had bubble lights on our tree. We always had a huge tree, too, with lots of colored lights (they didn't have clear lights back then...at least not that I ever knew about). The tree was always a live tree and I can just close my eyes and remember the scent of the evergreen. And tinsel....we always had lots of silver tinsel on the tree.
He liked to cook and he always made homemade fudge at Christmas. The old-fashioned, beat-with-a-spoon kind. Still the best I've ever had.
With that many kids, there were a lot of packages under the tree, even if we only got 2 presents apiece, it added up. I remember Mom saying one year she only had $7 apiece to spend on us and managed to get us each 2 gifts. We would come down the stairs Christmas morning and just be awed by the sight. This was after we had been awakened by the sound of a spoon banging on a pan coming from the bottom of the stairs. Yep! Dad! Couldn't wait to get us up and he would stand down there and bang that spoon and holler "Santa Claus was here". One Christmas, Santa brought bikes for the 2 younger boys in the family. "Santa" finished putting them together at about 3:30 am, then decided he would get all of us kids up - right then! I know my mother would gladly have strangled him at that moment, but too many witnesses by then, you know!! As I think back about that, I wonder just how much Christmas cheer he had had by 3:30 in the morning!!
When I got married and left home, we went home for Christmas for several years before we finally established our own Christmas tradition in our own home. The first year we went home for Christmas, we were opening presents on Christmas morning and my mom opened a "made in school" gift from my sister, Peggy, who was probably around 7 years old that year. I, of course, being the type of person who's mouth starts before her brain is in gear, blurted out, "What IS that?" My mom immediately said to Peggy "Lynn doesn't know what that is. Why don't you tell her what it is." Turns out it was a napkin holder. Also turns out that Mom didn't know what it was, either, and I gave her the opportunity to find out without hurting little feelings.
We always went to Sunday School, so were always in the Christmas program at the church. (I wish the church we go to now had a family with a lot of kids like ours did; our family pretty much provided most of the cast). Anyway, one of my brothers, Steve, is rather shy about some things to this day, but I remember him getting up and reciting a poem at one of the programs. Something about a present and he had to stand up there and open up a box that had about 6 or 7 graduated smaller boxes and he would have to open each one only to find another box to open in that one. I can't imagine him doing anything like that today. Wish we had had video cameras back then.
So, as I put up my little 4' tree this year, I thought back to Christmases growing up and said a quiet thank you to my dad and mom for giving me the love of Christmas that will forever be in my heart. Now....if I could just get these bubble lights to work!
Merry Christmas, everyone. God Bless each and every one of you.