I didn’t get to have the family Christmas this year because work kept me captive. It wasn’t pleasant but it’ll never happen again if I can help it. So instead of rushing from one family gathering to another I took the day off and tried to relax. Between phone calls from family I thought about the Christmas memories. That’s where Christmas is this year, in that Palace of Memory. Here’s a few selected memories in no particular order.
I remember being in the Christmas pageant at Grace United Methodist. I was a shepherd one year and I felt proud even though I was one of maybe five shepherds. I don’t remember the actual performance. It must not have been too bad and I have a tendency to sort of black out memories of being in front of crowds. The next year I was given the part of Joseph. It was probably because nobody else wanted it but that didn’t matter to me then or now. The chance to have an important part overpowered my stage fright. I remember walking up and then ducking into a side room with “Mary” where she was handed an actual baby. Jesus might have been a girl that year but nobody could tell the difference. I just stared at that baby. It kept me from looking at the crowd and hey, Joseph was probably staring at the kid and going “Holy crap, that’s God’s kid.” That and handing out cigars to kings, shepherds and farm animals.
Croissants are very tied into Christmas for me. Nobody wanted to cook on Christmas morning. I mean what with getting up and getting everybody together nobody ever wants to work over a stove. (Although my mom cooked last Christmas. Thanks mom!) So we’d get croissants which was something we could all get behind. Croissants and pecan rolls. Run them through a microwave or a toaster oven and they’re hot and taste extra fresh. I think about that sometimes when I bite into a croissant.
I remember how our various cats would react to Christmas trees. They would freak, of course. Imagine defining a tree as being an outside object and then encountering it inside. That’s how I always thought of it. Hanging anything on the lower branches made it a target. Those crazy cats would bat at anything they could reach so the unbreakable stuff was all for the bottom branches.
Christmas trees were always interesting. They couldn’t be put up without everybody in the family there. Even if the last family member would not arrive until the 24th, the tree would sit outside in the cold and wait. My brother and I have been sent twice at the 11th hour to get a tree. One year my brother and I went out on the 23rd and found the sorriest tree we ever did have. It was the last tree on the lot and the nursery was glad to be rid of it because it meant they could go home. Turned toward the wall it wasn’t that bad. Last year we were sent on the 24th on another tree search. We couldn’t find a tree after three stops so we gave up.
I look forward to next Christmas where I’ll make more memories. Hope everybody had a Merry Christmas. While mine was not nearly what I wanted, it wasn’t that horrible.