I confess I love the holidays. It’s not because of the presents, although they are nice. I find the season is filled with joyous reflections of my past and present. Roots from my past that have made me who I am. Every time I pull out my holiday decorations it is like taking a trip down memory lane, reminding me of the special people and moments I have known in life; moments that years and age have caused me to cherish.
From the little bird nestled in the tree branches, which belonged to my grandmother, to the ornaments which hung on my mother’s tree, a few now hanging on mine, I’m reminded of my past. My grandmother was a fiery Irish woman named Norma Patterson. She ran a boarding house with many interesting guests. One of which was a war hero from WWII. A visit to her house, where my grandpa was the amazing cook, was always an adventure. He made the best Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter frosting ever. Their big three story house sat on a corner lot in Denver. Its large wood curving staircase that we slide down on more than one occasion, was the perfect place to explore and of course tell ghost stories. There was an awesome player piano in the entrance, and a formal parlor across the hall where a large Christmas tree waited each Christmas Eve with lots of presents under it. With there open house policy we never knew who the new people would be that joined in our celebration.
My mother Ethel Campbell was Scottish. Her father and his twin brother were born in Scotland and came to America as small boys. Her father died in an accident at a young age. My grandma Ada had to work hard to keep her children together. They were poor, but they were happy. My mother was the sweetest person I have ever known and all of my favorite childhood memories center around her. She was the mother who stayed up all night to make a special outfit to wear for that all important occasion or cookies for the class party. My father, a bit of a stinker, if I do say so myself, was not easy to live with. Yet he was generous to those who were in need. Something he learned from his parents. They were married over fifty years. Dad told me she managed somehow to raise good kids and to make him look good. Christmas and everything else special we enjoyed as kids was because of her. I always knew she loved me and I could go to her for anything.
Memories of raising my kids and seeing their kids are all reflected in my holiday decorations too. My kids were the best thing I’ve ever did in my life and my grandkids, are well, if you have them you know just how I feel. Everywhere I look it makes me smile. All the special memories I have are wrapped around people, the love I’ve known and the love I’ve shown. Whatever you celebrate may it be a happy and joyous time for you and those you love. From my house to yours, Happy Holiday, Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas!