by Jacquie Rogers Copyright © 2011 Jacquie Rogers
Sometimes we have to dig through a whole lot of hazy memories to get to the fond ones. One thing is clear, we appreciated our gifts. We lived in the country and seldom ever went to the city, we didn’t get a “treat” every week. We only had a few toys and Dad made most of those. We didn't have DS games or X-Boxes—we had horses and peddlecars. Come along with me down memory lane.
Reality check: Christmas is a lot of work. Farming is hard work but when you add in baking Christmas goodies, shopping, making gifts (sewing and such) on top of that, you have some busy weeks leading up to the Big Day.
A little background: I grew up on a dairy farm. The thing about milk cows is they need milked twice a day every day, twelve hours apart. Cows like a daily routine and they don’t like it broken. Plus, they get downright cantankerous if you don’t feed them when they think they ought to be fed. Translation: cows really don’t much care for Christmas.
But I loved Christmas. For one thing, we kids didn’t have to do chores on Christmas morning, lest we’d see what Santa brought before Dad got in from milking. It’s cold on December 25th in Owyhee County, Idaho, so feeding calves and cleaning milking machines wasn’t all that much fun. What a treat to get to sleep in. Of course, that meant Dad had even more work to do so it took him longer to get to the house.
My brother and I shared a room and we had a direct view of the Christmas tree from our doorway. To prevent us seeing it, Mom sat in the doorway (she was paraplegic so was in a wheelchair) and corralled us in the room. She brought a supply of homemade cocoa with marshmallows melting in it, and sometimes topped with whipped cream. There never has, nor ever will be, hot chocolate as delicious as my mom’s.
Of course, what goes in must come out, so then we’d beg and plead her to let us go to bathroom. My brother was younger so he always got to go first. The rules were that we had to dash in as quickly as possible, only looking at the floor. Well you know we tried everything we could to get just one peek at the tree and all the enticing gifts surrounding it. After my turn, my brother and I would have a little powwow (whispers only) to discuss what wondrous glimpses we’d caught.
Ah, the anticipation! And wasn’t Dad ever going to get finished up??? Sometimes he’d pound on our bedroom window and scare us, or pretend like he couldn’t come in. What torture!
But finally. FINALLY. He would come in the house and our festivities began. First we high-tailed it to the unwrapped gifts that Santa brought. After about fifteen seconds, we were ready to open gifts. One thing we kids had to accept was that Dad was going to play with all the best toys, so if we got something really, really good, there’d be a wait.
But to tell the truth, it was great fun watching Dad play with those toys. One year he and the cat had quite a time with my brother’s racecar set. And then when my aunt and uncle came over, Dad and my uncle were racing, trying to get the cars past the cat, who’d bat them off the track every go-round. LOL. We even have a picture of that. They wore out the brushes on the cars so my brother didn’t get to play with the racecar set for a few days until Dad was able to procure new brushes (he didn't realize they would wear so quickly). This wasn’t out of the ordinary.
No squirt gun was safe from my mom. She also loved cap guns and I always hoped Santa brought extra caps to accommodate her. One year Santa brought a pair of Roy Rogers pistols and the holster. She played with those while I figured out how to use my bow and arrow without shooting the floor-lamp over.
My parents taught me to take pleasure in other people’s joy. This gift will be with me always. Christmas was never a quiet and serene day at our house, and to this day, it’s still not. It’s a day to share and love, with exuberance.
In that same spirit, I'd love to give a few gifts away today. Tell me, what's the one gift you gave that was the most fun—the gift you're so glad you gave? We'll have three winners and three prizes today: a $10 Amazon gift card, a signed of Much Ado About Marshals, and a free ecopy of Faery Merry Christmas.
Thanks so much to RomFan Reviews for hosting me on this blog hop. It has been really fun reading everyone recounting their memories!
Good Luck, and a Happy 2012 to you!