13 December 2006

Christmas Memory

As I sit here watching what looks suspiciously like snow clouds moving across the sky, I am struck by a holiday memory from when I was a child. I hadn't thought about it in years; mostly as the area I'm in hasn't had a decent white Christmas in years.

I was around 6, I believe, and we were over at Grandpa George and Grandma Alice's for the holiday. I've lost both of them in the last 10 years and I loved them so. They were actually my stepdad's parents, but they were so ahead of their time as they accepted and loved me as one of their own. They had a nice little white house with a HUGE porch and great big columns attached by rails that were wide enough for us to climb on and perch. Grandma's house always smelled wonderful and was always spotless in a way so you'd never notice how busy she was. (How'd you do it Grandma??? The only time mine seems spotless is when I'm moving and haven't put any of my stuff in it yet!!!)

Anyhow, the holidays were fun. There were always about 20 of us there, and a table full of wonderful food and laughter and games. This Christmas my aunt Bonnie and uncle Gene brought sleds for all the kids and we could hardly wait to finish dinner and get outside! 20 minutes and 2 trips to the bathroom later we finally had all our winter gear on and were headed out. It was beautiful outside. We had about 4 inches of snow on the ground and it was STILL snowing these great big, wet, wonderful snowflakes. While we were waiting our turn we'd try to catch them on our tongue (back before acid rain worries and such!) and feel them on our face. The grownups would pull us around on the sleds back one side of the house around and out the other side, then swing us around the great big oak in the front. I still feel the wind on my face and the "rush" a 6 year old feels from the wind of being pulled along at 5mph. :)

I didn't get the chance to let them know how much I loved them, and how much those memories have spoiled me so for holidays now. I drive by their old house now. Somehow it seemed larger then. I'd love to go inside and look around to see how it's holding up. I would never ask; I wouldn't be able to bear the changes. They had built-in bookcases full of classics, shelves with just a few precious knick-knacks and figurines and never any clutter. I look back on that time fondly, and wonder why can't we feel that carefree now? Shopping, bills, cards, rushing, complaining about the weather... who knew?

I've tried to recapture that with my children and we've had beautiful moments, but none I remember such as that. In a few years, the kids will all be grown and then the new little ones will come along... maybe we'll get more snow then. Maybe my grandchildren will remember white Christmases and fun at Grandma's house.

Grandma, Grandpa if you can hear my prayers, watch over us. I hope to be half the wonderful people you were!

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