I remember big dinners at Papa and Grandma's house which always included oyster stew. I remember Derek gagging at the table after giving an oyster a try. I remember the Swedish Prayer. I remember Nanny's white tree with blue lights and her red thermometer bird. I remember visiting Grandpa Boyd every year and who always greeted me with the loudest, "WELL HELLOO WHITNEY!" My best memories are of the Christmas tree we got out of the box and put up every year. I can remember how it felt to stick the branches in the trunk part of the fake (but beautiful) tree. I also remember how it felt to stick my finger in an empty light socket while my dad was testing Christmas lights but that's another story. I remember driving through Ilion Acres every year with Mom, Dad, and Jeff to look at the lighted lollipop and candy cane decorations. I remember church and the Christmas pageant and the aluminum foil angel wings, tinsel halo, candles, the church organ, the wise men, and the carols.
I have Gary's Christmas memories in my head, too. We've been married for almost twenty years and I never get tired of the annual telling of the time Gary's sister Lisa put her fist through the front door window because her dad locked them all out of the house before gifts were to be opened on Christmas Eve after church. Every year I get to experience the joy of sitting and listening to Gary and his sisters talk about what a flaming, wonderful nutjob Christmas-lover their dad was. I mean that in a good way, Dwight. :-)
I remember the year I decided the hell with it all and went up to the Sportsman's and drank vodka tonics on Christmas Eve. Everybody's had at least one of those, right?
But I'm going to remember this Christmas as a special one as seen through the eyes of our kids and the wonderful time they had in Texas with their dad's mom. So many people experience so much pain at Christmas (and there's been that in our family, too) but this year has helped me focus on all the good that's all around us. Wishing my six readers (and my family and friends) a wonderful 2009.