I’m Remembering A Sunny Christmas: Redux

English: A Christmas tree lit and decorated, s...

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Today I’m reposting a blog entry from last year.  It was one of my early posts, but I think it bears repeating because I didn’t have many followers back thenThis year we had a sunny Christmas too, but it was also a white Christmas—that is, there was significant snow on the ground.  Our Christmas was different this year for other reasons as well.  Our grandson Andrew was sick with the stomach flu for several days, including Christmas Eve.  My daughter, Julianne, did not know how this was all going to turn out and didn’t want to expose us to the lingering germs.  She texted us about 9:30 p.m. on the 24th with the news that Christmas was off for the following day.

 As it turned out, we are having our feast and gift exchange today, December 27th, with everyone well  and my other daughter and her family back from Omaha and able to join in all the fun.  We will have an extended Christmas season in 2011.  That’s fine with us!

Andrew, Christmas Day 2011, with new skateboard

REPOST: I’m Remembering A Sunny Christmas (2010)

Andrew skateboarding on a snowy Xmas day 2011

 On this sunny day with no snow on the ground, we still enjoy Christmas.  Everyone thinks Colorado is perpetually covered in snow, but that isn’t true in Denver.  Some years, maybe–but I don’t have nostalgic memories of snowy Christmas days from my childhood.  Yes, I am a Denver native and I grew up here!

The persistent rumor that Denver is like the mountains isn’t true.  We are high, dry and sunny most of the time.  The Christmas days I remember when I was a child include running around outside without a coat, wondering what to do with the sled stored in the garage.

When I was a child, we spent Christmas time driving to different people’s houses to visit, admiring the gifts spread under the tree and eating tasty snacks.  When we were young we enjoyed a big dinner with all the old relatives coming over.  Eventually they didn’t travel, so we went to them on Christmas Eve day.

When I had young children at home, my parents came to our house.  My daughters and stepsons would watch out the window until they arrived, then jump up and fly out the door, crying, “Grandma, Grandpa!”

We unwrapped gifts for hours it seemed, since there were eight people sitting around the family room.  No ripping into gifts for us!  Everyone watched the person opening the gift, waiting for that pleased look of happiness and surprise.  The wrappings were neatly disposed of, the presents set in each family member’s personal pile.  Then the next person would unwrap.  The youngest person in the family always handed out the gifts.

Some years my mother brought the turkey, all cooked and cut up, while I prepared everything else.  I usually concocted a fancy dessert.  My specialty was Baked Alaska, created several days ahead of time, with the finishing touches done just before eating,

After we finished dinner, my parents and I would sit around the table and talk. The kids would drift away to play, but mother, dad and I would reminisce about the old days.  The candles would burn down to stubs, leaving wax on the tablecloth.   The short winter day dimmed to dusk.  This ritual is what I miss most at Christmas, especially since both my parents died around Christmas time, many years ago.

Christmas is nostalgic for many folks.  Maybe that hint of nostalgia makes the holidays that much richer.   A few tears for those who are gone–mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, children…

They exist in other places and times, maybe in another city or state or country.  They may be only a memory, their bones in a grave under a headstone,  or their ashes blown away by the wind.  However, for as long as we live,  they are the beloved wisps of memory around our Christmas tree.

I have worked for years on a poem about the losses time brings.  I end  my 2010 Christmas thoughts with this work, dedicated to my parents.

Mary Elizabeth Rockfield Harris                 16 Sep 1915-4 Jan 1990

Roy David Harris                                  25 Aug 1911-14 Dec 1997


“sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt”

“these are the tears of things, and our mortality cuts to the heart”

Virgil, The Aeneid

Little did I know of time,

when wishing for tomorrows,

these moments I was living in

would never be again.

There would never be again an

hour when growing shadows

dimmed every dear face

gathered near, the candles

weeping their demise

upon  the white linen.

There would never be again a

time when sunlight streaked the

faded carpet, while you sat beside

me, dust motes between us

swirling to the rhythm of our words.

The  hope of our tomorrows lost,

too soon today becoming yesterday;

Sunt lacrimae rerum–

these are tears for all those things

that will never be again.

©2010 M. J.

7 thoughts on “I’m Remembering A Sunny Christmas: Redux

  1. Mary-this was such a beautiful post!! You are right about those feelings of nostalgia. It’s what makes me love Christmas so much, and yet at the same time makes me dread it too. Amongst the cheer and merriment is that undertone of sadness over what has changed and will never be the same. I love your poem-you have a gift for writing, my dear friend:)

  2. Pingback: White Christmas: Images of Stunning Snowy Landscapes | Murali

  3. It’s funny how so many of us place importance on a white Christmas, when really it’s not about having snow at all. As you’ve so eloquently written, it is about being with the people we love and keeping those memories alive in our hearts.

    Beautiful post. Beautiful poem.

    • Thanks, territerri! I appreciate your comment. I’m always nostalgic this time of year, so I’m glad it came through in my writing. Happy New Year!

  4. Hi there….you certainly brought back some memories.
    I took Latin in Matric and it was good to see it again and to know I still remember some of it. I can still decline a table….why did they make us do that?
    What a lovely post….I felt as if I was there….but I am glad we don’t get snow…cold and wet stuff!
    You like Suduko and I prefer crosswords.
    And scrabble.
    And reading.
    I was booked into training college to become a teacher but changed my mind.
    My life would have been very different if I had gone that route!

    • I started Latin in 8th grade (junior high/middle school) and continued until I finished 11th grade (high school). I loved it and should have continued, but didn’t know where it would take me. My husband does crosswords, so I get to help him spell–he can’t spell worth a darn. I love scrabble too, but have no one to play it with. I’m hoping to play with my grandchildren when they get a little older. I think all of them will like it. As far as teaching, I would have enjoyed a lot of other jobs better I think, but it was reliable employment through two divorces. If I hadn’t been a teacher, if I had pursued a different academic route, my life would have been different too! I don’t know if it would have been better…

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