Jan at Revgals has posted a Friday Five for ‘Memories of Christmases Past’. Because I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), it is sometimes difficult to pull up good memories of Christmas. But here goes:
1. In our family, Christmas Dinner was always roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Because my mother was not native to Yorkshire pudding making, having learned how to make it from her mother-in-law during the Depression while living with her, the making of Yorkshire pudding was always a bit of an trauma. I love the savory egg, flour and milk breadiness of the dish slathered with gravy. I seldom ate the mashed potatoes that were also offered. It was such a treat. I finally made a more than credible version –not my mother’s recipe a week ago and found it easy to make. All the ‘sturm und drang’ have been removed. The Food Channel triumphed over my grandmother’s recipe and I am so psyched that I can make it without all the terror that my mother instilled in me. I am not making Christmas Dinner this year, but I will be ready when it comes my turn.
2. In 1969 I was invited by a nun friend to play a musical gig at her convent for Christmas Eve. I had been a professional French horn player for some years after college and supplemented my income at Christmas time doing musical performances. But this one was different. My nun friend was also a French horn player whom I had met playing in one of the local civic orchestras. It was just as the nuns were beginning to take part in the larger community following Vatican II. We became friends and talked about all kinds of things including religion as I was unchurched and really didn’t think I believed in God. Christmas Eve at the convent was wonderful and it was then that performance changed to worship. And ever since, Midnight Mass is a celebration of my rebirth in Christ. Baptism and confirmation came later but it was at that service that I knew God.
3. I remember the year that my maternal grandmother who nearly always bought me clothes, not toys, sent a package that had gotten quite smushed in transit from MO. I must have been about7 or 8. Everything she sent me was turquoise in color. It was the IN color that year. There was a dress and socks, underwear and crinolines, a bracelet and even a hat, I think. She even colored the candy she made, blue-green!
4. My cousins lived in Chicago and they were older than I. So at Christmas, I was often sent good hand-me-downs from them. The only problem was that they often sent wool items that were only wearable a few weeks of the year in TX where I lived. But for a few weeks each winter, I was very well dressed in clothes that we couldn’t get in Ft. Worth. But the next winter, I would, of course, have outgrown them.
5. The first year I moved to Syracuse, NY we had ‘snow upon snow’. On Christmas morning it was minus 22 degrees. I was to fly to TX to be with my family for Christmas evening. I remember the sound of the snow ‘singing’ under my boots. We even had had to ‘plug’ in our car –we had a heating device in the dip stick of the car so that the oil was viscous enough to turn over. I got off the plane and it was 76 degrees when I got to TX! I think my body revolted because I came down with a tremendous sinus infection.
Thanks, Jan. I remembered many more good memories than bad---Have a Holy and Happy Christmas to all.