Auntie’s Time Capsule for Christmas 2009
1. While lighting the annual luminaries with my dad and two newbies, I heard the sound of sleigh bells and looked up in the sky. I got caught by one of my dad's Bridge buddies who was experiencing the luminaries for the first time. He said, "what are you looking for?" I said, "I'm quite sure I hear the sound of sleigh bells and I just had to look." He smiled and said, "they're coming from the door of that house" and gestured across the street. I said, "well this is a night for believing and to be honest it's not the first I've looked up tonight." He just laughed. I smiled at my courage to “keep Christmas in my heart all year”.
2. Meeting my parent’s neighbour's grandson who was about six years old. He and his parents had come to visit for the first time the Christmas before and he remembered the beautiful candles. A runway for Santa or lighting the way for the Christ child. We had fun. I’m a kid magnet. I sang a bevy of Christmas Songs in Donald Duck's voice, ones that he suggested. When he asked me to sing “When the Saints Go Marching In” I said, “you play the piano don’t you” he smiled and asked how I knew and I said, “I don’t get that request from anyone who doesn’t play the piano”. Running across him helped me miss the grandkids less.
3. Learning from my dad that while in Costa Rica, missing Christmas with the family for the first time since about ‘85, my brother found a candle in a bag bought it and lit his own luminary. Realizing that the annual luminary lighting is as important to him as it is to my dad and I. My mom enjoys it too, but she is always scurrying about inside while we set everything up outside. Each year, more and more neighbours exit their homes to join us so they can appreciate it all the more. People travelling to and from the largest church in the city, wave and greet us when they’re walking or honk their horns if they’re driving, but it’s the overall sense of calm and fellowship that makes it so special for me.
4. The arrival of an energetic neighbour with a smile as bright as the lit Christmas tree who looked like she just stepped out of one of RJD’s retro photos with a festive apron that complimented my parent’s colour scheme. She also had a white cocktail dress and served freshly baked homemade rich people ordurves (bleh caviar and such) to the guests. She was in and out in about ten minutes. (Bet she gets hired next year to stick around all night.) Coupled with that moment is the wave of traffic that flows through my parent’s home, every year forty or so guests come and go with only enough comfortable seating for about fourteen people, it’s like each guest has their own tradition of when to stop by and who they’ll see when they’re there.
5. Visiting MMC and Christmas Talk forums while reading and posting with other Christmas Enthusiasts and never once having any trouble getting on when I navigated to either destination. Sharing my annual Christmas book reading with O’Malley the cat, whether he liked it or not. Having an understanding husband who teases me playfully about my belief in Santa, but deep down finds it adorable. Bringing the celebration of Christmas back into my husband’s life. He spent some twenty years barely marking the day until we met and he had no choice and this year he thanked me for taking the lead on the decorations, gift buying, etc.
6. Talking with our grown children and grandchildren and hearing the excitement in their voices and exchanging gifts with my parents and husband and having my imaginary friend from childhood stop by to deliver special surprises in stockings that would fetch a good penny on eBay. The stockings were returned so she can deliver again next year.
7. Most of all, I appreciate that my parents who have had their share of health problems in the past, are still here to celebrate with us and have never lost their love for Christmas and grateful for friendships - the new and old. Oddly enough to include in a snapshot of a memorable moment, is the appreciation of my work ethic. I had a chance to leave work two hours early on Christmas Eve, but I had a deadline I wanted to keep since I'm on vacation for a week. I finished my project and submitted it to my boss, who is also away for a week.
Although it wasn't a perfect Christmas, a sense of inner peace rests within me.