It’s that time, that day before the day. i spent the morning wrapping presents for those who will spend Christmas day with me, glad it will be four instead of three. Maureen’s sister has decided it’s safe to join us. That will make it better. After all, Christmas is about…oh, it’s about many things depending on who you are, where you are from, and what you believe. Still, there is this joy about sharing it with family.
It struck me as i was wrapping the last presents. Poorly, i might add as i didn’t use a video like son-in-law Jason did, and my usual wrapping paper of old newspapers have been donated to Spud and Vonda Mumby across the street who need the paper to catch the droppings of the quail they are tending in their garage. Even got some pickled quail eggs for a Christmas present…along with Spud’s homemade port, which has become my favorite port to have with desserts and a nightcap.
What struck me was i keep griping about not being home for Christmas. Sorta got stuck on Bing’s Christmas song:
But the truth is with that kind of attitude i won’t ever find peace and joy for Christmas. The truth is i have a number of places i would like to be each Christmas.
Christmas to me will always be what it was at 127 Castle Heights Avenue. Santa came in glorious beneficence. The three children and sometimes two more of the Orrs came over from Chattanooga would wait at the top of the stairs in their pajamas, probably emerging from their bedrooms before dawn to perch there in anticipation. But they had to wait. The parents has to set up the lights for making home movies when the big moment arrived. We would crash over each other when the signal was go, down the stairs, through the hall into the living room where Santa had spread the big gimmes over the floor under our stockings, stuffed full of small gifts, fruit and candy and hung by the chimney with care. Oh, the joy of discovering a Roy Rogers’ Ranch set, or a two-gun cap pistol set with holster and hat and caps to complete the outfit.
There were several, with the same procedure over in Red Bank, outside of Chattanooga proper with our cousins.
There were some wonderful ones in Paris, Texas where the Colonel Jimmy Lynch and Nannie Bettie would somehow magically cajole Santa to actually show up at their home and have Blythe sit on his lap, regaling her with stories and taking notes about what she was expecting the next morning.
There were the Christmases at the Boggs family home in Lemon Grove where incredibly wrapped gifts were presented by my father-in-law Ray Boggs.
Then in ’92. we began our annual trek to Tennessee Christmases. They were/are magic, even more so now with my sister’s grandchildren taking in Christmas at the magic age.
There is the place i’ve never been for Christmas that has always been a dream of mine: Christmas with my brother and his family in Vermont. i mean, man, what a place for having a White Christmas. They are wonderful folks and after all, that is where Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney has their “White Christmas.”
i was always torn in our decision about going to Tennessee or being with our grandson (and daughter, son-in-law, and former wife). We decided my parents didn’t have many Christmases left and it would bring them joy to spend to spend Christmas with two-thirds of their family. And so it was. Today, as much as i regret not having those Christmases with grandson and daughter, i think our decision was the right thing to do.
There was one Christmas, 2014, after Mother and Daddy passed that we did spend Christmas in Austin. It was magical. i mean, who wouldn’t be pretty close to heaven to spend a Christmas with his daughters and grandson.
There were others: Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam, 1970 with Korean Military Advisor Group Captain Ollie White in the Officer’s Club with an admiral’s daughter whose name i forgot who managed the club (We drank a lot and cried a lot in our mulled wine).
And if i get my act together, there will be a following post about a bizarrely wonderful Christmas and New Year’s not home for Christmas.
So i could spend all of my time moping about where i ain’t. i am here. i have two of the five most important people in my life with me. My sister-in-law, Patsy Boggs will join us tomorrow. There is a fire in the hearth. We set up one of my stereos (sort of, whatever you call those things now) and have had almost continual Christmas music, my Christmas music. The presents are wrapped. The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung. NOEL is broadcast to the world outside.
And the birth of Jesus two thousand and twenty years ago brought hope to some for peace on earth, good will toward men, and joy to the world. Now folks, i don’t know all of your leanings toward beliefs, but if you ain’t into peace on earth, good will toward men, and joy to the world, i don’t think your Christmas (Holiday season for those who wish to quibble) will be all it could be.
For me, i have my peace, i have my joy. And i have good will toward men. It ain’t perfect, but i will celebrate.
Some time during Christmas day tomorrow, i will walk to the top of my hill and look toward the Western horizon. i will think of a birth long ago, and i will hope this year is behind us and we all may have peace on earth, good will toward men, and joy to the world.