Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hazy holiday memories

I have several fond memories of holidays, many of which revolved around my father, who was a real character. He was often mistaken for Jimmy Stewart. They looked remarkably alike, right down to the tall, gangly physique.

One year he decided we should open a present on Christmas Eve. This wasn't unusual, we often did this. This was accompanied by a special drink (I don't remember the drink -- brandy? gin?) He couldn't find drink glasses that were special enough for this event, so he rooted around in the cupboard and came up with 8 matching containers: jello molds.

These were rubbermaid (tm) molds, shaped like a star or a flower. About 4" high and 4" in diameter. And plastic.

He brought them into the living room with a flourish, filled with Drink of Choice, balanced on a beat-up tray that my mother used as a drip catcher in the stove.

We all laughed so hard I thought we'd have to be hospitalized. He was so happy with his choice of beverage glass and had no clue that these were jello molds. He just figured -- hey, they all matched and they were clean.

We unwrapped many gifts that night, if I recall. I still giggle when I remember the sight of him, coming into the living room with that tray with eight white plastic jello molds balanced so carefully.

I have a lot of memories like this: Hanky Day (when he got about two dozen hankies for his birthday), family vacations (where he regaled us with tales of 'Old Buck', his horse, stories that sustained us through the boredom of driving through South Dakota), Christmas baking with my mother (our assembly line making highly decorated Santa cookies), Prom night (eavesdropping on my sisters as they got ready to go out) ...

All memories with family are holidays, aren't they? I mean, in my mind, some of the memories seem like holidays even though they were just simple get-togethers (family picnics, swimming pool days, bike rides). And although many of the people are gone, I can't say I miss them. I mean, they're still so alive to me in memory. The only difference is that we aren't making new memories together -- I'm doing that with new friends. Perhaps I'm Pollyanna, but to me, it's all good.


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