Another topic was originally scheduled for my weekly post today, but with everything going on, I thought it best to just take a pause. (Besides, the topic is better suited for next week, the start of a new year.)
Whatever you celebrate, I wish you the best. For me, it’s Christmas. For you that might be Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, solstice, Festivus, nothing, or any number of holidays or celebrations that I know little or nothing about it. Whatever it is, may it be awesome and full of family time, joy, and cheer.
Take time for yourself as well. Even if all the cooking and shopping is done, it can be really stressful. Just remember that this time is meant for family, friends, thankfulness, peace, and reflection.
Lately, I’ve missed a lot of family that has passed. The other day we had our annual dinner out with the in-laws, and we stopped at a couple of shops, one of which was a Hallmark. And I couldn’t help but gaze at their ornaments, wondering which one Gramma Dawson would have chosen for me were she still alive and I was still under 18.
And it reminded me of Grampa Dawson’s voice as he read stories to us and Gramma Joyner’s peanut butter fudge and other (but not-so-delicious) treats, and how the card from Great Great Uncle Francis always arrived before all the others. This is our first year without him, and though he never socialized these last several years, I always looked forward to that card.
That made me think of my Great Gramma and Grampa Lukavsky. She’s been gone for a while, but those massive family gatherings! She had a second kitchen/dining/living area in their furnished basement. The house always smelled delightful (and slightly of sauerkraut – she was German and he was Czech) that remained long after she stopped making it. She always put out a huge spread for the noon meal…then at dinner would make an entirely new meal – not leftovers, a new meal.
Great Grampa has only been gone a couple years, and in the latter ones, we still gathered for soups and family time. He always made oyster stew, and one of my dad’s aunts made this barley soup that my mom really liked. Football would be on, and even in his late nineties, he was ornery and would tease everyone. He especially liked little handmade puzzles and jokes. (Like those horseshoes with the chain and the ring in the middle [though he had several and most were much more complicated – he cold always solve them in mere minutes orless] or this little wooden thing. It’s hard to describe, but it was a joke. It had this piece and you were supposed to convince someone that inside was a rubber band, and you’d use the piece to grab it. But there was no rubber band – it was all in how you pulled and released the end piece. Anyway, someone fell for it every year.)
He’d also show off his collections – like alll the arrowheads he used to find in the field back when he was a farmer. He had dozens, many of them quite large. And once they were asking him about guns and hunting and such, and he showed them one and said, “This is the one that killed Kennedy….well not this one.” (As I type that I can see how some might see that in poor taste, but I assure you no offense was or is intended. I considered deleting it, but I chose not to in order to give a full picture of my memories of him.)
I miss those times, I miss that family, I miss family that I don’t get to see much (or any of) any more because key people are gone. I only see my Uncle Mike at Thanksgiving now – no more Easter or Christmas. There are cousins. I haven’t seen for more than a decade, not even at some of the funerals we’ve had. But at least I have the memories, and this time of year is a beautiful time to remember them. It may add some sadness, but the joy of the season keeps those memories positive, and the sadness makes the joy more profound, because its in contrast that we feel anything.