Holidays Past

I spent 6 consecutive hours cooking and playing the part of scullery matron during a pre-Christmas soirée.  Stress turned to anxiety, which prefaced possible tears when too much sherry spilled into the sauce I was making. My mother came immediately to mind. She always hoped for dining perfection with holidays spun from loveliness when I was a kid. I remember helping her, “Don’t worry Mum, it will be fine we’ll just….” One year, I must have been in my mid twenties, we had a very well done turkey but we didn’t care because we just… had more wine or another drink and laughed about it through subsequent holidays. As I stood listening to boorish conversation, hoping the sauce would be edible, very close to tears, I remembered Mum, understanding intimately how she felt when holiday disaster loomed.

We spent Christmas at my maternal grandparents’ house when we were little kids. They lived in an old cape (circa 1750) with an ell and attached barn. We had footed pajamas, then later long pink or blue flannel nighties. Our beds had flannel sheets covered by itchy wool blankets and heavy cotton coverlets. There was an old cast iron cookstove where my grandfather made dozens of pancakes for us at breakfast. I can’t recall holidays without snow. We stayed for the whole week that school was out.

It made me sad to see Gram and Gramp standing at the kitchen window waving goodbye to us through the cold winter night as we drove down the hill on our way home with Mum. Today I waved goodbye to my niece as she drove down Hippy Hill after spending 5 days with us. Tears slipped down my cheeks as I watched her go. She’s twenty-five. I was younger than she is now when she was born.

Bittersweet
holidays past,
long gone
so fast.

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About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
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4 Responses to Holidays Past

  1. Judy says:

    I loved reading about your past Christmases, especially those when you were young and tucked into flannel sheets at your grandparents’ home! Holidays do bring out emotions easily; they are so tied with family and separations. Your post was very sweet and brought back memories of my own…. Thanks for posting.

    • elroyjones says:

      Thanks so much for stopping in. I miss my mother and grandparents a lot, especially the humor that was always the eventual remedy for catastrophe. We are lucky to have people to love.

  2. Peggy says:

    Is it possible that Gram and Gramp were waving sadly from the windows while you drove away but muttering to each other under their breaths, “Good god, I’m glad they’re gone!” Just a thought.

    • elroyjones says:

      It’s possible. I’m sure they were tired but each of them told me later on that those years, when we were young, were the happiest years of their lives. They had the freedom of a good retirement to enjoy their grandkids without having to face the obligations of the daily grind.

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