This time of year brings back so many memories, a flood of recollections.
Memories are all some have – as life brings so many changes. A house once filled with decorations and gifts can often be empty. The aromas of home cooking can stab at the heart and bring tears to those whose eyes have seen the loss of family and friends.
My own memories are varied. Every year I would travel home from Houston. Often I would finish decorating the house. Christmas cards would be waiting for me to place on the walls – signifying their importance. Christmas gifts would be wrapped and bows tied. Mama would whip up many a tasty home made goody. She was famous for her mouth watering date nut roll. Vegetables from the garden frozen for months would be thawing out. The sights and sounds of Christmas was in evidence.
One ritual we always performed – reading Luke 2 just as Christmas Eve bowed to Christmas. Often pine tree limbs brushed the roof. When I was a child I thought it was Santa and would scurry to bed. I knew better and would smile at the memory.
One Christmas memory stands out in my mind. I must have been around nine and wanted a ballerina doll more than anything. That Christmas morning arrived with the sounds of breakfast cooking and adult voices in the kitchen. My sister and I grabbed our robes and waited to be invited into the world of adults. That would happen soon enough – but on that Christmas morning – an air of excitement filled the house.
We rushed into the den and there beside the Christmas tree was my Uncle JD and Aunt Katherine. They smiled and greeted us as we raced to the tree. The gifts were piled high but no where near the level of excitement I felt as I opened the package which contained a beautiful doll, ballet shoes on. She looked as if she could have danced the lead in the Nutcracker.
The fireplace crackled while we shared gifts and a hardy breakfast. The day was peaceful. It was void of any strife and I relish that memory. Life would fill our family with losses, with personalities difficult to resolve. Those days were for another place and time. On that Christmas morning – which echoes in my heart like a long lost friend – I recall holding my doll. I recall Mama’s tasty breakfast and the joy I felt in sharing with those I cared for, who made my life safe.