Monday, December 08, 2008

A favorite Christmas memory - part 1

When I was small, we lived in a tiny little town called Rosalie.

I vividly remember moving to that house. It's one of my first memories, as I was only 3. I remember the adults using the sliding glass doors into the "dining room" for carrying furniture and boxes from the truck to inside. I still couldn't tell you how many boxes or what furniture. There were just "boxes" and "furniture." And I know this because it was told to me. I have memory of seeing either of these things that were transported through the Sliding Glass Doors.

Yet, my memory is clear that after running wildly from room to room touring the house, I proclaimed that this room, the "dining room" was to be My Room. It was the biggest. I was the youngest. It was linked to my parents' room by a doorway. The reasons were obvious and endless why I should have this particular room.

So, naturally, it was My Room. It was large enough for my full-size bed and several other pieces of furniture. It had two nice-sized closets - a big deal for the 1970's. At times, my bed was moved to my brother's room and his bunk beds were separated and put in My Room so that we could both sleep in My Room. We never slept in the same bed, that I remember, as this would have certainly led to an inevitable attempt on someone's life and subsequent whining, crying and tattling.

The living room was at the other end of this small house. In it were the fireplace, tv, couch and Stereo System (a mammoth solid wood cabinet that housed the AM/FM radio, 8-track player and record player.) It was incredibly heavy, with sharp corners that left many a bruise on my arms and shins and it cost a small fortune. The wood cabinet was a perfect match to the wood cabinet that housed our Color TV, also costing a fortune.

(Our TV was separate from the Stereo Cabinet, but the Stereo Cabinet was at least this large.)

And, at Christmas, the tree was in the living room. I don't remember exactly where Mom put it, but I'm sure it was somewhere of importance and still out of the way of the tv-viewing. After all, there was Dallas to watch. And don't forget my dad's favorite, Hee-Haw.

I realize that Santa respects each family's traditions. So at our house, he wrapped our presents. This was his attempt to fool my brother and me. One year, my brother found part of Santa's stash in the trunk of my mom's 1977 4-door white Mercury Cougar with burgundy cloth interior and white leather detail on the roof. Santa had to find other places to hide his local stash after that year.

There were always gifts under the tree. As soon as Mom could get them wrapped, we would prowl through them, counting to see that one of us didn't have more than the other. Santa would even occasionally leave an early surprise under the tree. Wrapped in the same paper as the other gifts to and from each other, these gifts from Santa would be labeled in my mom's mixture of script and print. It never caused us any confusion. We realized that Mom was just putting Santa's name there as a way of surprising someone without taking the credit for herself.

'Cause in her house, like mine, the mom does all the shopping. Except in my house, The Mighty Hunter buys my gift from him. But this only began after years of buying my own gifts and wrapping them and putting them under the tree. Disgusted with this unbelievable level of laziness on his part, one year I handed him a catalog marked with post-its and notes about sizes and colors and told him to buy my gift himself. Yes, I had chosen what I wanted. His gift to me was THE EFFORT.

I think I was probably the Most Magical Age of Four. Brother (have you ever noticed how similar the words bother and brother are? I'm just sayin'.) was sleeping in his bunk-bed in his own room. I had gone to bed and sleep early, upon request, without argument or delay.

It was Christmas Eve, after all.

Sometime during the ngiht, I was awakened suddenly. A sound had startled me.

The sounds of hoofs running across our roof.

I jumped out of bed and ran to the living room. There, glowing magically from the lights on the Christmas Tree, were piles of presents. Presents that had not been there when we went to bed. Presents of all shapes and sizes. Presents wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper - different from that Mom had used. And a name was written on each package.

I couldn't tell you whose hand-writing had labeled these gifts. I have no memory of that.

I couldn't tell you what a single one of those gifts were.

But I will tell you until the day I die that I heard reindeer running across our roof that night.

And they were taking off, not landing. 'Cause I didn't even get a glimpse of Santa in the living room!

What about you? What is a favorite Christmas memory of yours? Post it on your blog and come back here and leave a comment. I'd love to read it.


Kaye said...

Ahhh...the memories you bring back. We had a stereo just like the one you describe although we did not have a matching TV with cabinet. However, my grandparents may have owned the very one you pictured above, as it grabbed my attention quickly. Ahhh...yes. And Hee-Haw. Who could forget Hee-Haw?

Sorry, my comment had nothing to do with the holidays, but everything to do with memories. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. =)

Nissa said...

Santa always wrapped our gifts, too. One year Santa came while my brother & I were taking our baths on Christmas Eve. So we got to open them there..(my father couldn't stand the wait!)

Karen said...

I love thumbing through my Christmases past. One of my favorites was when the power was out for 2 days and we had Christmas by candlelight. Only a child could appreciate that. As a parent, I'm now cringing at the thought.