This is a first for many of us, as our columns for Dec. 26 must be in by 9 am today, Dec. 18, the day before this week’s edition of The Times is even distributed. So the news I bring you in this place next week, will be of memories.
I guess the older you get, your priorities change, and I never thought the simple act of bringing a box of tree decorations down from the attic would be a gift of bringing wonderful memories of the past 64 years to me. Only one small box do I keep these days, and up until a few years ago, I had no difficulty climbing the pull-down ladder to the attic and retrieving at least three or four boxes. But now I leave that chore to a younger, more agile family member. Opening the box is left to me alone. I open the box and carefully lift out an eclectic collection of decorations, the small wooden sleigh, the small feathered bird and pear which was my mother’s version of a partridge in a pear tree. Next are my mother-in law’s wax candles in their original stands, which she brought out to decorate at holiday times, one elf in a plastic globe, which is all that remains of a set of many on a string of lights, given to me by Aunt Fannie Frost, small counted cross-stitch hanging samplers made by Aunt Ruth, to brighten our tree and my children’s favorite at the time, a small candle encased in plastic — only one has survived from a string of flashing ones. Homemade decorations made by my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren fill the rest of the box. It matters not what shape they are in, as the memories they invoke, some happy, some troublesome or sad like life can be, they continue to decorate both my tree and my heart.
I think this year when the box makes the trek back to the attic, I will enclose a copy of this column so that my family can relive those memories too.
Birthday smiles to Caitlyn Francis on Christmas Day, Rick Tarter on the 28th, and Ava BenDavid and Claudia Metell on the 31st.
As I have before, I am sending you the gift of this poem for this season. It has a deeper meaning for me as the years pass and my circle of friends grows smaller.
By James Patrick Erdman
Ah friends, dear friends, as the years go by, and heads grow gray.
How fast the guests do go. Touch hands, touch hands with those that stay.
Strong hands to the weak, Old hands to young around the Christmas board, touch hands.
The false forget. The foe forgive. For every guest will go and every fire burn low and cabin, empty stands.
Forget! Forgive for who may say that Christmas Day may ever come to host or guest again? Touch hands.
I wish Christmas Love and Joy to you all. Peace.