Christmas past

One of my fondest Christmas memories took place in my early teen years. The whole family was in my parents room watching TV one Christmas Eve. I kept hearing this noise in the next room. It sounded like we had a mouse. I mentioned it, but no one else had heard it.

A few minuets later, I heard it again. Again, no one heard it. The third time it happened, I got up to investigate. My brother Scott said he heard it and it was bats in the attic. Unlikely, I said. Bats hibernate in the winter. Even if there were any up there at this time of year, they would be asleep. I did what any self-respecting, bat-loving little sister would do. I demanded he prove it.

Scott, being certain I would chicken out, started to head to the attic stairs. Mom, being certain I wouldn’t chicken out, told Scott not to take me up there because I might get hurt.

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Just a few observations

A) Several times a week, I go to my favorite coffee shop — Rothrock Coffee. The owners are wonderful; the coffee gods and goddesses are some of the nicest people in the world; the coffee kicks ass!

But now I’m wondering if I go there too often. Nah. Not really! But last week I worked graduation. The weather was wretched and it made students late and harried. In short, it was tougher than usual. To make matters worse, Rothrock opens after I have to be at work and closes before I get out. Yes, there’s coffee at the venue, but it’s not Rothrock coffee.

Sunday, I went to the shop per usual and it was closed! For a private event! The horror! They were having an employee holiday party for family and friends!

Ok. Seriously, no worries. I think it is great they were doing that, so I turned and walked back to the car, knowing they’d be open the next day. Suddenly, I hear my name called. I was being beckoned back to the shop. When I got in there, I was handed my usual large latte. OMG! They knew my name AND my beverage of choice. Sort of like “Cheers,” but for coffee. I was over the moon! When I told this to a friend of mine, she suggested maybe I went there a little too often.

So today, the day before Christmas, they closed earlier than usual for a Saturday. I got there and the chairs were up, the door was locked, and the baristas were cleaning up.

Again, no worries. I think it rocks that they were giving their employees a couple extra hours. I’ll be back. I’ll always be back. But, no! One of the owners again called to me and asked if I wanted something to go. Caveat: All they had were cold drinks.

Like I care? I got an iced latte. Maybe I do go there too often. Pfft! No way! I’ll be back there on Monday. A Merry Christmas and a big ol’ “thank you”to all the caffeine elves at Rothrock!

B) On my way home, I passed on of the roadside crosses they put up when someone was in an accident at that spot. Swooping down in front of me was a red-tailed hawk. I couldn’t tell if it was a juvenile or a female. It landed on the cross and sat looking around. Too much symbolism. I don’t want to think about that too deeply.

C) Driving through a neighborhood near me, there are 12 families who put up the “12 Days of Christmas” decorations. There’s a sign in the yard of one family and another just like it further up the street. In the dark, driving along, I haven’t been able to read the sign. Today I went past, stopped at the curb and read the sign.

apolitical

Well done, neighbor. Well done indeed.

Christmas memories

Dear Dan,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot today. Who am I kidding? I think of you a lot every single day. But there is one memory that always pops into my mind at this time of year.

Along with the memory of chasing the Christmas star and the Christmas at grandmother’s and granddad’s, along with the memory of talking on the phone when you dropped the cookies on the floor, there’s a special memory.

I think I was a sophomore in college. It wasn’t the easiest of times and I was missing Christmases past. In short, I was about as depressed as I had ever been. I was not looking forward to Christmas day at all — much the way I feel about Christmas every year now.

You didn’t want me to be down in the dumps so you went out and bought me a tree. You brought it up to my room and helped me set it up. The tree was a lush, full Fraser fir. I think it was the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen.

That was such a beautiful tree — a beautiful gift from my beautiful brother. I loved it. I hugged you when I thanked you and you let me, even though that was so not your thing. I wish I could hug you now.

I love and miss you, bro.

Christmas caroling

Dear Dan,

Remember when you, Mary Lou and I would go Christmas caroling in the neighborhood? Mom loved to open the front door and listen to our voices floating through an otherwise “silent night.” We weren’t allowed to go in to the houses. We could sing on the front steps and we were allowed to accept cookies if offered.

The only problem we ever had was Mary Lou! All she had to do was sing “5 gold rings” during the 12 Days of Christmas. She was so busy craining her neck looking at people’s homes she would forget to sing. We’d have to nudge her for the “5 gold rings” – every friggin’ time!

Christmas Past

Dear Dan.

I went past the old house today. Mom and I went there shortly before you died. The guy who bought it gutted the place and totally redid it. He wasn’t quite finished when he showed us around.

 As I went past I had flashbacks of lovely Christmases past; back when our little family was safe; before things happened. I had flashes of visions of the Christmas present going on in the house now.

I had visions of us running down the stairs in the morning. I had visions of us sneaking out of bed at night to see if we could see Santa and his sleigh. I remember waking in the middle of the night and listening for the reindeer. I wonder if the kids in the house now did the same. I wonder if there are even kids in that family.

I think of Christmases past and I wonder where it all went wrong.

I love you Danny. And I miss you.