Saturday, December 22, 2012

Timmons and Groves Christmas Memories

Over the years my perspective on Christmas has changed. When I was young, of course, it was all about the gifts – the more the better. I remember spending time at Mammaw and Pappaw’s house with my family from Texas, and there were so many presents that when all was said and done the wrapping paper was a foot high in the panel-lined den. Some gifts were ornately wrapped and very organized – those were from Sharon. Some gifts were best described as “unique” – those were from Richard and Rosie. The adults would sit around the whiskey-barrel table as Pappaw sat in his chair holding his unlit pipe in his hand while Mammaw washed the dishes by hand at the sink. As we got older, the grandkids took over this chore with Mammaw standing behind us telling us how to do the job at hand. After spending time with this group of relatives, it was off to see my daddy’s side of the family.

Like Momma’s side, daddy’s parents had three kids, but for some reason it always seemed like there were so many more of us on the Timmons’s side. I remember occasionally they had a medium tree in the corner, but most years it was a small tree that sat on the table in front of the window. The fake logs turning on and off warming the room when necessary, and the picture that hung over the sofa of the two sisters playing musical instruments. I always loved that picture. It was time to eat AGAIN, and if I was going to eat, I was going for two things – squirrel and dumplings and chocolate pie. I used to love me some squirrel and dumplings…until. Until the Christmas I was eagerly plunging the ladle into the dumpling and pouring the contents on my plate to discover the skull of the squirrel. I haven’t eaten a squirrel since. At the Timmons get-together, we each received one gift. Most of the time I got socks, a scarf or kitchen towel. Simple gifts from my grandparents. I never got over how many people we could squeeze into their small living area. I’m sure it was a fire code violation, but it was fun. Every Christmas all the grandkids took a picture together. I wonder where those are. They are probably best left hidden.

I don’t remember too many of the times of opening gifts at home with my family, but we have the pictures to show the mayhem and chaos of Santa Clause.

It wasn’t until about the sixth grade that the gifts started losing their luster. I didn’t get as many because the things I wanted cost more. There wasn’t as many surprises either when you hand-select the items you really want. It was a little disillusioning and disheartening at the same time.

It took me a couple of years to find my joy in Christmas again. It had always been there. It had never gone away. It was the thing I looked forward to every year. It was spending time with my family. Whether it was beating Peter in Othello (because that never gets old), counting Pappaw’s hot peppers in the hot sauce, or trying to find a place to sit at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, it was seeing their faces, listening to their voices, spending time with them and making memories.

Now I’m a mom, and we’ve gone through the gift mania phase, and our kids are getting to the age where they are starting to see there is a reason for traditions. There is a reason why we celebrate Christmas, and it isn’t the presents. There is a reason why we spend time with family. The reason is because these are some of the richest blessings God gives us. Whether we’re making a spontaneous trip to Marshall singing carols all the way stopping only to ooh and aahh at the Christmas lights, visiting the Rose Center and eating at IHOP afterwards, going to Natchitoches to see the Christmas lights or staying home watching movies and spending time with family, these are the gifts that cannot be wrapped and put under a tree.

I encourage you to count your blessings this year. Cousins grow up, and we all age. People move far away, and we don’t see each other as often as did. And there are loved ones who have gone to heaven. Cherish the moments you are given. Don’t take any of it for granted because there is someone in this world who would love to have a little of what you have.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and to my family, my cousins, aunts and uncles, thanks for the memories and Feliz Navidad.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving your comments.