It’s like trying to sing the 12 days of Christmas to someone on the other end of the phone. Each stanza in the song was given to a different child to sing; however, the song rarely finished without everyone roaring in laughter. Some of us could sing while others couldn’t hold a tune but each of us in our own way added to the hilarity of the moment. It seemed we never finished the song. My mother always wondered what could be so funny in a simple song? To understand, you needed to be on both ends of the telephone line. Words were changed, meanings had no meaning, but the common denominator was pure fun.
Our home was seen as neutral territory where adults could be adults and children could be children and not necessarily the same room. Everyone knew while in our house arguments were to be subdued, and the fun of being together elevated and celebrated. It was a time when families lived near each other, and we looked forward to seeing those who did not. It was a coming together of generations with like heritage talking over their history while looking fondly toward the future. Some of the families were wealthy while others could be seen as poor but nevertheless, each added to the tapestry of the Christmas I remember fondly. Whatever the case, each Thanksgiving and Christmas we all came together. It was undoubtedly one of the days we got to see our cousins. We would see some occasionally during the year; however, others were far enough away and we would only see them during that particular day.
While various groups met and conversed about the world, the kids would be excited about playing and having snowball fights (if snow was present that year). My brothers, sister and other close relatives had their chores that day. Cooking the meal for everyone was their principal focus. That kind of focus took them away from the clamor of the youth but always resulted in an incredible meal of Turkey, veggies, and yes, dessert.
As a child, I remember Christmas as a time of fun but also a serious point of remembrance. Since my parents were both ordained ministers, Christmas was a hectic time of the year. My grandmother lived to be 104. Many of those years she lived during portions of the year with my family and parts with my aunt. Distant uncles and cousins were occasionally seen sometimes years apart. It is those gatherings that I miss so much because they were not just a holiday but a time when memories were created and remain to this day. Sadly, it is only those memories that remain, but I am so grateful to at least remember wisps of moments that I will always cherish.
I look back with such memories because my uncles and aunts are no longer with us. My parents passed away years ago leaving the center of the family hollow without direction. It is sad that most of the adults of my life are no longer with us, but in reality, they are not forgotten. Each left their fingerprints on our hearts and minds even if seen as fleeting moments of fun, family, and food.
It’s good to look back and relive those wonderful times so that the flavor of a family can live on. One thing for sure to remember is that change does happen, families, become less a unit and more scattered. However, touching each other by phone, card, or personal visit always leaves one feeling better, more connected, and more alive. What kind of memories do you have of the major holidays of the year? What relatives stick out fondly in your mind? These questions will lead you back to a time when the family made us feel a part of the whole. It’s saying Merry Christmas to those distant from our home that can break the loneliness of family far away.
Merry Christmas to all who give me the gift of their time here at listen2whispers.com.