I'm feeling a bit sentimental, so I've chosen to share some Christmas Memories from long ago to Poets & Storytellers Writers' Pantry #80 today. And, by the way, my notes are scribbled illegibly in a little notebook I keep on my bedside table for midnight epiphanies. Submitted December 13, 2020
My Christmas memories are centered around the little one-room school, and the roadside church of my childhood that were the hub of social activities. Tradition on Christmas Eve was to attend Nigh Chapel for the children’s program, hymns and the reading of the story of Christ’s birth from the old Bible, the soft ticking of the wall clock for accompaniment. Then the sound of sleigh bells heralded the arrival of Santa with a loud Ho Ho Ho, and a brown paper bag of treats for everyone. These contained hard candies, chocolate drops, nuts, an orange and a shiny apple. I never questioned these treats were from the North Pole until the Christmas my parents were on the “treat committee” and, with friends, prepared the bags of treats at our home! This was most likely the same year I learned Santa was Johnny Cashmer, a rotund farmer with rosy cheeks who lived in the neighborhood. Who knew?
Any Christmas shopping had been done from the well-worn pages of the Sears & Roebuck catalog. We looked forward to receiving the package from my father’s mother, which always contained her potato candy (a confection made from a boiled potato, powdered sugar and peanut butter). Christmas Day was a gathering of family. Gifts were simple, few and well chosen. The afternoon was usually spent playing games or working on the huge jigsaw puzzle that was always set up on holidays.
Close your eyes. Imagine no charge cards, no over-spending, no retail mania, no exchanges, no batteries, children who talked instead of texting, adults who visited instead of watching television, and everyone remembering what Christmas is all about. Oh (sigh) it was a wonderful time.