Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday travels... ghosts of Christmases past...

     Today I'm traveling to the past.... Christmas brings treasured memories of holidays spent with loved ones who are no longer here.  This year I have decorated a small tree with ornaments that have their names on them.  While the memories of those no longer here would seem to put a damper on the holidays, they instead bring me joy and laughter.

     I remember a brother-in-law who passed away in August 2001.  Shortly before he died, we had talked about starting a Christmas tradition with a pair of old, smelly, nasty slippers that had been left behind after another family member's visit.  He was going to box them up and send them as a gift... much like the dreaded fruitcake that never gets eaten and instead is re-gifted year after year.  That Christmas I boxed up the largest coffee mug I could find along with a laminated picture of him and description of what he had planned with the slippers and sent it off to his mother.  His love of coffee was a constant joke in the family, and so I asked that she enjoy a mug in his memory over the holidays and pass it along the following Christmas to another family member.

     The first Christmas spent with my father after I moved back with him for my senior year of high school, he had been behaving like a Scrooge.  It was Christmas week and we still didn't have a tree.  Each time I asked him about it, he replied, "Bah Humbug!" and said that we weren't getting a tree that year.  I was devastated.  Three nights before Christmas, I got off work from my part-time job at the mall and went to my car.  It was a chilly night, even for Florida, and when I realized my car was not where I left it but three spaces away with the windows steamed up, I was afraid someone was waiting for me in it.  I went back into the mall and got a male co-worker to come out with me to open the car.  Imagine my embarrassment when he opened the car door to reveal a tree taking up most of the inside of the car.  My father had come to the mall, taken my car to get a cut tree, then spent more than an hour circling the lot trying to get a parking space close to where I had parked.

     Memories keep our loved ones alive in our hearts at Christmas...

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