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MARY’S MEANDERINGS: Dec. 18 — Stirring up Sheer Joy

It’s good to be a kid sometimes, and never better than at Christmas.

Take a deep breath and imagine the Christmas of your dreams. Go back to your childhood. Do you remember the utter thrill of the holiday…the excitement you could hardly contain? The sheer joy! I do!

Every year I seem to possess more days of “muddling” through the first part of December; which can be expected, I suppose, as I get older.

It’s the same every year…but once I look inside the closet or open a drawer where the Christmas decorations have been tucked away since last December, I get that feeling…sheer joy! Memories start to crowd my mind, and suddenly I’m determined to get rid of the thoughts that’s been bothering me the last day or two.

“I don’t think I’ll even put up a tree this year.” Soon, and before I know it, I’m removing everything inside both closet and drawer with the colors of my favorite…red and green.

Memories? A word I continue to over-use sometime, but then again, as a long time friend said to me one day and I agreed, “Good memories are the best part about getting old.”

I remember how difficult it was to stay in bed until the house “got warm.” Daddy, putting another chunk or two of coal in the Warm Morning stove, and all five of us yelling…”Is it warm yet?” And, Mama scurrying around in the dark room searching for a kitchen match to light the coal oil lamp.

Mama always made sure we waited until Christmas morning to celebrate and open our presents. Even though our presents were never in large numbers for each of us, there was always something under the tree special order and void of a name…we knew who it belonged to. I don’t know how Mama kept our “most wanted” presents hid until Christmas morning…or did she?

I remember the “useful” gifts both grandmas gave my sister and me…long, cotton-ribbed stockings, but unlike Mama, theirs were wrapped which we carefully unwrapped, saving the gift paper.

I remember my last doll. Maybe, a little bit too old to be playing dolls, but not in the eyes of my sister and me. Vivid in my mind is the small xylophone that I had a difficult time sharing.

I’ll never forget the Christmas I received a small, cardboard suitcase, filled with coloring books and art supplies, crayolas and watercolors; a bonus gift from the Raleigh salesman that Mama received for purchasing household cleaning products, spices & etc. That was my “most wanted” present that Christmas.

I’ll never lose thought of the joy I got every year, standing back, admiring our Christmas tree.

My brothers scouted around every time they went fishing on the creek or down in the field close to Elliott’s Pond in the summertime, looking for that special cedar tree that they estimated would be just about the right size by Christmas…always small, as Mama requested, and sometimes scraggly-looking until Mama assisted in arranging the icicles saved from last year and helping us cut strips of red and green crepe paper into ropes to wrap around it’s branches.

Let me suggest…share some childhood memories. You’ll see, that will be the day, probably, your blessings will outnumber your problems…another time to crowd your mind with more childhood Christmas memories.