To each his own. To me my own.

Christmas pasts

No, I didn’t spell it wrong, or mis-phrase it. The way it reads just makes more sense to me. Not Christmases, or Christmases past. But rather the many ‘pasts‘ that stick out in my mind whenever I think of Christmas.

Barringer. A brand new pair of shiny black patent leather lace-up boots from my uncle and aunt. Came all the way up to my knees, they did. I laced ’em up right there on the couch as soon as I unwrapped them, my family laughing while my uncle videotaped me. Back then, these videos landed on movie reels. That same year in ’73 I got a jewelry box slammed full of jewelry…. I felt like a princess with all that bling. A princess with mega bling and shiny black boots. I didn’t know it at the time, but the pattern of my taste in life was forming, even then.

Collingwood. Mom and Mammaw had both worked that Christmas eve. Still in her uniform, Mammaw was so exhausted that she laid down in the floor right underneath that Christmas tree. My uncle, Mom’s youngest brother, trotted in with many bags and a huge stuffed dog that was taller than me. That dog ended up being mine, it was too big to wrap. Every year he would go out on Christmas eve and to do his Christmas shopping, hauling the load in at the last minute for Mom and Mammaw to wrap up. That night, Mom laid down with me to get me to sleep so that Santa could come. She fell asleep with me, and Mammaw decided to let her sleep. Later that night, through the bedroom window, I saw my Mammaw and uncle dragging a new bike in for me – to Bon, from Santa. 🙂

Old Dowd. A box FULL of new books. Not any old box – I’m talking a box of epic proportions. There must’ve been 40-50 new books in that one box. The Little House on the Prairie collection, several Tom Sawyer adventures, Little Women, and so many more that I can’t remember. I recall sleeping with some of those books that night, the smell of fresh new books was intoxicating. It was an awesome gift that I enjoyed for many years, from my loving Mama.

Hartford. Ham and lots of goodies to eat. Great uncle J talking with no one listening. My first pair of designer jeans, Calvin Klein himself embroidered on the rear pocket. They were too small and had to be exchanged later, but it was official – I was now cool. Maybe not in my peers eyes, but definitely in my own! Archie, the family dog, gets to experience his once-a-year visit inside the house – much resembling the running of the bulls with the addition of a red Christmas bow stuck to his head.

Ever notice the memories of your childhood Christmas pasts usually involve the gifts you received? The ones that made the biggest impact on you often stick in your memory like glue.

Sloan. My Mother’s boyfriend. I wasn’t so sure about this guy…. didn’t think his intentions were quite up to par with what I knew she deserved. Besides, who did he think he was trying to horn in on our family time? I go my own way, where I want, when I want. Hell I just moved back in from being gone for almost a year, and this guy’s practically running the show. Then again, my Mammaw seems to like him. Mammaw’s a pretty good judge of character, and she’s rarely wrong. Hmm, he gave me a stereo for Christmas. This guy may not be all bad. I’ll just have to keep my eye on him.

Fort Mill. My precious little baby girl made out like a bandit, and I’m so glad. Christmas is different now, somehow… I can’t quite put my finger on why, but know enough to realize it involves the newest part of me – my baby daughter. So THIS is why they say that children make Christmas. I have a family of my own now, added to my existing family, plus my new extended family – that of my husbands. Wow, this holds promise of getting a bit hectic. But hey, that’s Christmas! Oh, and that boyfriend of Mom’s? He’s now my stepdaddy, and pawpaw to my baby girl. And a fine job he’s doing at both.

Abbey/Village Lake. Blessed Christmases. Always blessed, always getting way more than we deserve. It’s not necessarily gifts that stick out in my mind now, rather it’s the multitude of bounties our families bestow upon us during Christmas that seems to always catch us up. We all truly have an abundance, thanks given to our families and God. Okay, there is one time around this era where gifts really do stick out. That would be the Christmas when my husband accidentally threw all his gifts away.

Scarlet. Mammaw’s sick. Really sick. She insisted on getting through Christmas without a hospital visit, but this was a bad idea. She can barely breathe, both her face and body are really swollen. Congestive heart failure is what it ends up being – little did we know then. Fast forward to another Christmas. Pawpaw isn’t feeling well. He’s trying to deal, but running a fever, thinks it’s the flu. It might’ve been the flu then. But it wasn’t the flu that caused his heart to fail in front of us two weeks later.

Poplar Forest. New house, and so proud to have Christmas here. Much has changed in past years, we have two who are no longer with us and are reminded of that pain especially during the holidays. Baby girl is continuing to grow into a fine young lady – downside of this is gifts are getting much harder to pick for her. My most memorable gift – my wedding ring set that my husband had reset from yellow into white gold, given to me on Christmas eve. Little did either of us know then of what was to come in the near future.

Hamilton’s Harbor. I have only one Christmas here, so far – but in a couple of weeks I’ll have two, and with that more memories made. The one Christmas here consisted mainly of my past memories. This can be a good thing, as well as being detrimental – but I have to remember that every single thing we’ve experienced and endured in our lives shapes the person we are today. You either learn and grow… or you let it defeat you. Things change, life changes, and we must go on.

‘God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.’ ~James Matthew Barrie, Scottish dramatist & novelist; best known as the creator of Peter Pan


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