At Aunt Becky and Uncle Larry's house last year
I would be extremely remiss if I never mentioned anything here about the song "White Christmas" during this festive holiday season. The reason is that it was always my grandmother's favorite song...and although I think of her often throughout the year, I think of her even more during this time of year, when this song is sung and played and hummed, in all of its varieties.
My mother's mother was an excellent Christian woman, a warm, soft-spoken, and very kind lady...a true First Lady of Freed-Hardeman University for many years. One could not dare to dream up a better grandmother - she, along with my Grandaddy, always took great care of our family, buying gifts we would each truly enjoy, cooking things specifically for a certain set of tastebuds. She always made sure to have macaroni and cheese on hand for Bennett, our picky eater. She always baked apricot turnovers (a recipe that's certainly an act of love) for my cousin Nick when he was here - and she always sent the requisite pigs-in-a-blanket back home with these Arkansas grandkids. I'm pretty sure they never lasted even halfway back to Hot Springs.
My grandmother was an incredible hostess - so organized, so busy. She was forever ready for visitors and excited for a party. Especially at Christmas. I remember the embroidered red Christmas placemats and the tabletop ceramic Christmas trees. I remember the bustle of her kitchen, now our kitchen, because we now live in my grandparents' house. Last year when Jeremy wrapped our white porch columns with red ribbon, it made me feel so at home to remember my grandparents' house looking just so this time every year.
Just a dusting of snow...
A new wreath on the side door!
With a definite fondness, I can stand in any room in our home and "see" memories playing out. Our kitchen doorway, which now houses a newly made wreath, reminds me of a Santa face that my grandparents used to hang there when the youngest grandchildren still "believed" in him. It had a big red nose that Madi, who is now close to graduating high school, joyfully pressed over and over again to hear "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
Downstairs we often cuddled up together on couches, snacking on Aunt Claudia's Chex mix and my mother's fudge, and watched our favorite Christmas movies - "White Christmas" and "Christmas in Connecticut" and "Ernest Saves Christmas" being at the top of the list. I know, we're nothing if not eclectic. There were the usual arguments over who got what blanket and "please-sit-up-so-more-people-can-fit-on-the-couch" pleas. My grandmother always fell asleep before the end of the movie, though. We all teased her then and now many of us are just like her. =)
Our little Tennessee town didn't see much snow during my growing up years. In fact, I got a sled for my 12th birthday and then never got to use it. During the last few years, though, our area has had more snow than I've ever seen in person! It's been so beautiful...and my grandmother would have LOVED it. Her love of Bing's version of "White Christmas" was always a grand wish for a white blanket of snow to magically appear over our hometown.
Nowadays things are different - but still the same - for our family during Christmas. Our beloved mother and grandmother has been gone for nine years now, but we still carry on the traditions that she held dear. We are always together at Grandaddy's new house at Christmastime, eating and playing cards and watching Christmas movies, and we have at least one meal at our house, their old house, while everyone is in town.
Grandaddy "getting the dread off his mind." =)
My mom and Aunt Pat getting ready for Christmas lunch
at Larry and Becky's
My cousin Adam, last year's present-giver-outer
Aunt Claudia, the bringer of the hats, and Grandaddy
The grandkids with Grandaddy: Nick, me, Beth,
Adam, Madi, and Bennett
You have no idea what an funny ordeal this picture was!
We think of my grandmother often...and remember her hospitality and her meals and her laugh and her general joyous demeanor. We miss her, but in our own ways, I think we each strive to be like her. I'm definitely lacking in her superb organizational skills, but I am proud to say that I was able to inherit her love of entertaining and cooking. I want to be just like her when I grow up. =) As do we all.
Merry Christmas to each of you! And here's hoping for a White One!