I know, it's not the time of year to reflect on Christmas Past, but I have some memories that are just fighting to get out.
Please indulge me...
Christmas Eve was always special. My cousins didn't quite understand how Santa always made it to our house on Christmas Eve before we went to bed. The truth is Santa lived next door:)
After dark, we'd get together with my first cousins. We'd play silly games like "Push Button Monster" and "Ain't No Boogers Out Tonight, Daddy Scared 'Em All Last Night." We must have make up this game because I don't remember ever playing it anywhere else. Ever heard of it? Sometimes mama would go over the state line the day before to get firecrackers, sparklers, and other fireworks. We'd enjoy our own 4th of July in December and then we'd go riding around to see the Christmas lights. We liked to go to the "Rich Section," as we called it, because they had homes with niiiice decorations. We thought if a house had trees decorated with white lights and Santa and Mrs. Claus on the front porch the folks there must be rich!
Mama would say, "I think I see Rudolph's nose. See the red light! Santa must be on his way." And sure enough, we'd think that we must have been first on Santa's list.
The next day we had two stops to make. We'd go to my grandparents on my mama's side. We had a huge family. Granny and Granddaddy had 8 children and an unheard number of grandchildren. As a child I thought that everyone in mama's family talked all at one time. Even Mama said, I think we all would see who could out-talk each other." I loved Granny's tree. It smelled good! The cousins loved to play on the front porch. I can still remember the glider patio sofa and chairs. I look for those chairs every time I junk hunt. The swing on the front porch was a favorite among the grandchildren.
Our next stop was my first cousins on my daddy's side. Daddy's brother died years before and my aunt had remarried, but we continued to get together in the summer and at Christmas every year. Since we were out of school for another week, my cousin went home with me and stayed part of the week and I stayed with her the rest of the week.
In Mama's words, "When Bonnie was 1 1/2 years old, Tom (Daddy's brother) and Lois had another girl they named Becky. She was cute with naturally curly blond hair like her daddy. Her daddy worshipped her. When Becky was one year old he had a massive heart attack and was buried on Christmas Eve. This almost devastated Daddy. Now there was no one in his family left but him. Christmas and holidays were really hard for him. In the fall after his brother's death, Daddy went into a state of depression. He couldn't talk without crying and the doctor made him stay out of the pulpit for six weeks or until he got better."
Reading Mama's letters makes me better understand why Christmas was always so sad for Daddy. After Brian died, we never got together with the cousins on either side again. I don't think Daddy celebrated again until after our children, his grandchildren were born.
I almost forgot the Christmas Cards....
Christmas Card 1961
Christmas Card 1963
Christmas Card 1966
Christmas Card 1969
Christmas Card 1970
See the piano in the back? I've always loved candles. One year, I lit the candles and forgot them. We went to bed and a few minutes later we smelled smoke. The piano was in flames! We still have the piano. It didn't sell. It's the only item left at the home place.