Posts tagged holidays

A Wonderful Memory of Days Gone By

“That’s my favorite Christmas song!” I said as I looked up at my mother.

She smiled back at me, busily wrapping gifts and checking the stove.

I looked outside, and noticed the dark gray sky, hoping, that soon snow would be coming down onto the mountains around our house. Going to my grandmothers farm for Christmas would not be a problem, because it was only up the hill from my house.

“Mom,” I asked with hope in my blue eyes, “Could I PLEASE open just one of my presents tonight. My friend Sarah’s family does that. It makes Christmas last another day. . Besides, with my birthday right after Christmas, it is the only really special time I have.”

Mom sighed as she removed a pumpkin pie from the oven. “ I like for you to wake up on Christmas morning-very early- (she smiled and brushed her hand through my curly hair) and see you sneaking through the house to find the presents under the tree. “You know that I hear you!”

“But Mom,” I begged, you told me that all your family had was stocking hanging on the end of your parent’s bed, with some fruit and maybe one toy. Things don’t have to always be the same!”

“Oh, alright.” My mother said, as she rushed about. “But just ONE!” she emphasized.

I jumped up, shouting “Oh, thank you, mom, thank you!”

I remember that day-49 years ago. I remember the dress she wore, the tattered apron over it,The tired look on her face, the flour spilled on the table.

Tears fill my eyes as I wonder where time has gone. My own children are grown and have children nearly that old. I lost a child 7 ½ years ago, and I often refer to this time of year as the “Helladays” because they make me miss my young, lively healthy family so much.

I struggle to cook a few snacks for the teen I still have living at home. Where does time go? Why do we loose those people and times we treasure so much? I wiped a tear and turned on the radio as I cooked.

That same song came resounding through the speakers. I was surprised, filled with a mixture of sweet memories and loss.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the years!” the orchestra and singers sang in a rhythm that could have come from that long ago day.

I sneaked into my sons room and handed him a small wrapped gift.

“Whats this, Mom?” he smiled.

“Just a little memory,” I said. Merry Christmas!

He got up from his video game and gave me a hug. “You are the best mom in the world,” he said.

And for a moment, I saw my mom saying the same thing to her. I held back the tears, so he wouldn’t see me cry and walked slowly back to the kitchen.

Perhaps the Christmas spirit was still alive after all.

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Paying it Forward

The snow was blowing fiercely across the parking lot. Three little children in boots and coats trailed, holding hands beside their mom. They struggled to the car from Goodwill as their mom searched for her keys.

Beside her, walked a well dressed lady, opening the door to her new car. “Do you need some help?” said the lady.

“No, but thanks.” said the young mom, as she felt the lady folding a large roll of cash into her glove.

“Oh, thank you!” said the young mom. “No, THANK YOU, said the lady as she walked away with gratitude inside her.

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Commercialized Holidays

Image

Valentines Day, Mothers, Day,

Fathers Day, so many more.

What if we don’t get a Valentine or box of candy?

What if we don:t see all of our kids, or parents

or put flowers on their graves?

If we must have a special day to recognize those we love,

then our love is shallow and lacking.

If we do not recognize them on these “special days”.

We are not appreciative, thoughtless…

Think of those you love every day, tell them every day,

love them every day. All of your lives will be much richer.

Today, I did not eat with all my kids,

I put flowers on my mom’s grave and my then-15 year old sons.

Today, I stood in line to eat lunch with part of them,

my lonely father order food he didn’t want and didn’t eat.

Having a friend take a photo of my son and I with my flowers.

Or my son showing me bullfrog tadpoles, meant much more.

Remember how short time is and how much today means.

Take the little treasures and keep them, for soon they slip away.

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Earth Day, 1969-2013

I remember the first Earth Day. I was in Junior High, in the downtown area of my city for the first time, my generations first step away from our neighborhood elementary schools. It was the year schools were integrated in my town. How excited we were, to be part of this first Earth Day, we were the “babies” of the “hippie” culture and were anxious to be considered part of the idea behind Earth Day-cleaning up the environment, getting back to home gardens and self-sustaining ideas. Of course at our age, our ideas were limited, as the concept of waste and growing up in a throw away society was our world.

We had just begun to think like adults, have our own ideas and concepts. This is one of the very first days I remember with my mind in an “adult” format. I will never forget it. In celebration of Earth Day, our art class went out and sat on a grassy bank in front of our school and were told to draw pictures of what downtown looked like. I am sure there were kids who were just glad to be outside, but for me, sitting on that hill drawing a picture my perception of the small city was eye-opening. I had lived there all my life, but for the first time, I REALLY looked at my city. I noticed the huge church next door with the domed roof, I looked out at the dogwood trees blooming on down the hill on our school grounds I looked back at the small chipped-rock playground where “recess” and P.E. were held.

Suddenly” my city” became more than simply “my neighborhood. There were still rows of 20’s era building lining the streets beyond the school. There were woods and grassy areas behind the area where the old brick school building set. A red brick wall divided our school grounds from the street below. s I took this all in, the world seemed like a much larger place for the first time in my 14 years of life. i noticed a possibly homeless man wandering the sidewalk beyond the school. His clothes were old and tattered and he appeared to be rather unaware of where he was or in what direction he was going. Having grown up a protected only child who spent her time shopping uptown with my mother, I had given little though to life outside my safe urban world. There were no real “malls” in my town, a few “shopping centers”. No drunks staggered down the streets where I lived. Being “Homeless” was something that happened “somewhere else”, not in my town.

We had a speaker on that first “Earth Day” that introduced us to the concepts of taking care of the world we lived in. In 1969, the world was beginning to seem much smaller and it was happening very quickly. I could not imagine, at that time, how quickly those changes would take place. There were three black and white channels on TV, huge, unsightly receptor antennas stood on top of our homes to bring them to us. Telephones had dials and curly cords. No one that I knew had a microwave, although, I imagine some of the “rich” kids” did. Most moms didn’t work unless they “had to” or at least until their kids were old enough to get off the bus and stay home alone until she got there. Now, letting even a 14 year-old come home to an empty house gives moms an uneasy feeling. I lived in a very innocent world.

There were many more Earth day celebrations in my future, all in an increasingly frightening, yet more aware world. We planted trees, cleaned up river banks, volunteered in homeless shelters. We became aware of the world around us. Sadly, the opening of the door to the fact that we MUST start taking care of our world, was the beginning of the end of the innocent world I grew up in. The old brick Junior High was torn down the next year. The hill was leveled, along with the woods and playground. An interstate now “by-passes” the tunnel through the mountain, which long separated my side of town just as the high bridge across the river separated us from the other side of town.

Integration was the rule and we were at its inception. The concept of Middle School replaced Junior High. There were several big race” riots in the remaining years old my secondary education. Surprisingly, I don’t remember having problems with people with different colored skin. I do, however, remember that though we went to “same” schools, we rarely did things with children who were of a different color form u, or from a different part of town. Earth Day songs played by John Denver Appeared. The whole concept of saving our world from pollution and saving our poor from deprivation became a project for various civic groups.

Earth Day, in 2013 is very different from the first Earth Day. The focus, has ironically returned to its roots, but it is now organized, with special events, a more modern focus. As I talk to my grandchildren, who are still young, and to my teen, who is the age I was at earth Days inception, their world is already a much bigger place. News spreads fast, violence is everywhere, most moms have to work, cable TV, cell phones, technology in general are a part of their world from the time of their birth.

Still, I feel something very important is missing from their more protected, more violent, more technological world. There is an expectation of “things”, there are less moms fixing dinner for the family as they talk about how their day went. The is a lack of innocence, a lack of closeness and dependence among each other in families that to me is simply sad. Everyone is in their room playing with their ipods, ipads, computer games or watching recorded programs from Cable TV. They are not together, not reading books to the little ones at bedtime, not growing up appreciating the bonds of family or the importance of relationships with real people.

I would like to see Earth Day become part of a new trend towards family, community, doing things because they are right or good, rather that to get extra credit in school or bragging rights at the office. I would love to spend a day, heck a lifetime with my children and grandchildren able to savor the simple things in life, like sitting on a hillside drawing pictures with a pencil and table. My daughter, now the mother of two, won a regional prize or a report with the topic, “We must learn to ‘baby’ “Mother Earth”.

Today, I feel a good topic would be, “We must learn that ‘family life’ exists beyond electronics”.

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The Leprauchan

A little old man in a green top hat,

stopped by my house with a tip and a tap.

I heard the whip of a strong north wind,

and whispered, look over there my friend!

As I sat on the step, I stopped and looked over,

and there, I spied a four leafed clover.

I imagined his face, this jolly old elf.

And looked at the clover, quite proud of my self!

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An Irishman’s Laugh

To say that my great grandfather was a n Irishman went back a few generations.  His family began their trip tow hat was the the “colonies” in the 1700’s. Yet, they kept their Irish customs, the Irish brogue and considered themselves ” Irish” despite generations of being in America.

I used to give my grandmother a “Saint Patrick’s Day” card every ear.  It always brought a smile to er face and a good story of her fathers love for the Irish heritage that had been handed down to him largely by oral history.

My grandmother always loved to hear her father’s laugh when something that aggravated him happened.  A a father of 12, he would laugh and ay, “At least I don’t have any red-headed children.”

I always though that was an odd way to be thankful.  As the generations progressed, quite a few red-headed descendants appeared.  I am sure he would have loved them, and with a jolly Irish laugh, think of another way to be thankful for the little things that go right.

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Travel Theme – Shadows

Although I did not write this-and it is the wrong holiday-it is a childhood favorite of mine that my grandkids now enjoy-I cannot recall the author-we were “made” to memorize it in 5th grade.

Halloween

The moon is round as a jack’o’lantern

The trees grow black and bare,

As we go walking with spooky giggles

Through the chill, ghostly air.

Who’s shadow is that on the haunted ground?

Who’s hiding behind that tree?

Oh, down the tree comes my bad, black kitten

And the shadow is only me!

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