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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
THERE WILL NEVER BE AGAIN
“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.