Christmas Day is finally here! The day that many wait for each year. A day to celebrate with family and friends. A day to remember our Lord and Savior and how much He means to us. A day to reminisce over past events and dream of new events. When I was much younger we would travel to my grand parents’ home in far south Texas. One year my grandmother had a great surprise for us. She had been feeding a baby fawn so that when we got there we could all see him. She would step off the porch and he would walk right up to her. I always thought she did that just for me. Another year she had oranges from her orange tree which was exotic for us.
Often we were there at the same time as our cousins and we had so much fun. We played games and sang songs and ran around. Grandmother had an old aluminum Christmas tree. It was a skinny, little, silver tree but it was always lit and ready when we climbed out of the car. My favorite thing to receive was a little book filled with rolls of LifeSavers. Each book opened in the middle to present ten rolls of candy stacked neatly on top of each other. Five rolls on one page and five on the other. At the time I thought it was the best gift ever.
In the evenings we gathered around in the living room. Each one of us was encouraged to stand up in front of everyone and perform. We could say a scripture that we had memorized or sing something we learned from school or play a song on the piano. I had about a million girl cousins and one boy cousin. As soon as we all arrived the girls started bossing. They teamed up with my older sisters and bossed. They bossed anyone and everyone they could find. I was in the younger set so I got bossed. At the end of a few days they had bossed us into a fairly decent Christmas entertainment package.
It was during the Christmas Breaks of my life that I honed my domino skills. I also learned to count based on the dots of the dominoes. To this day I can add up any sequence of numbers with possibilities of ending in a five or zero in a nano-second because that is how long we had to look at the entire table of dominoes and see if we had made any points. After a nano-second, then someone else was telling (bossing) you which domino to play. If we couldn’t get the domino table, we took turns spinning each other around in this nifty little swivel chair which sat right in front of the fireplace.
We had some great times at that old ranch house in south Texas. Now, we are all married and have kids and grandkids and have our own traditions. For years, we all have met at my sister’s house on the weekend before Christmas (some still get to do this). This way we keep up with cousins, second-cousins, in-laws, new family members, and each other. We trade stories, share concerns, and laugh. My sister always brings out the old aluminum tree and we show our kids the skinny, little, silver tree we celebrated around.
When we first began meeting at Christmas, it was because my grandmother was elderly and we knew we didn’t have much time left with her. Now, she is gone, and there have been other losses. The group has changed and grown. Some have moved off and new ones have joined. But I am positive that if we were all gathered together in a room there would be lots of laughter, maybe a few tears, and many outrageous tales.
Looking back, we didn’t have so much stuff, but we had plenty of laughter. Perhaps we laughed to keep from crying because there were years with absolutely no money and years of heartache. But if I could teach my children and grandchildren one lesson from my past it would be to laugh. Laugh out loud. Laugh outrageously. Learn to laugh at yourself. Laugh at each other. Enjoy life because it is short and it is never guaranteed.
Merry Christmas to you all. Safe travels and many blessings.