16, Number 94, December 2013/January 2014 A Special Christmas by Mildred Deveau-Hubbard
All my memories of my earlier Christmases were very good. My Dadís childhood was not as enjoyable, losing his parents at a young age. Christmases were difficult for the family, as he shared with us. The neighbours helped with gifts, candy and fruit. For that reason he tried hard to make it unique for us. Finances were a struggle as money did not go far.
My Dad had a lot of talent and used them in wood making, creating furniture for the house, collecting pieces of wood from the local wood mill, some plained one side, big knots and holes. On one occasion he created a guitar, neck and hole in the centre, later purchasing the strings. He tuned them up and played the instrument like a professional. I then joined him in singing along with it; since it was near Christmas we sang the carols. On one of these times dad asked me to get ready so we could go out to sing for folks. I was excited. Leaving the house we knocked on a neighbourís door, asking ďDo you have anything for Santa?Ē Even though things were tough for others they were pleased to see and hear us sing. The seniors or shut-ins really enjoyed the young voice singing with dad as he accompanied me. People would dig deep to find candy, apples, oranges, and maybe a cookie or two - a custom that went for one generation to the next, but dwindled away shortly after.
On Christmas Eve I hung a stocking - usually it was one like I would wear. There were no large stockings then. In the morning the first thing I would check was the stocking, finding a large orange in the toe, two pieces of candy, one piece of chocolate, a few hard mixtures, and behold a new pair of socks to wear. Mother allowed me to eat the fruit only. After breakfast I could eat more. But best of all were the gifts under the tree, wrapped up in bright coloured paper - red, green, blue, gold and silver - tied up with bright thread or string and with an attractive bow. It was tough to check inside, the prizes were amazing: a doll that had new clothes for her, a colouring book, crayons. I even received a new blouse or dress sometimes. Once in a while it was school supplies, such as pencils, erasers, and scribblers. I liked to give my mom and dad homemade gifts, cards, ornaments, paper chains, popcorn or cranberry ropes for the tree. When I learned to cook I made fudge for them. I enjoyed it too.
Our Christmas dinner might be roast chicken with vegetables, rappie pie. pumpkin, apple, or lemon pie, fruit cake and sugar cookies shaped into bells or trees. But this did not always happen this way. Some years were more plentiful and others scarcer. The main thing was we had each other and the laughter was always the greatest of all.
Oh such memories, but times are changed. I adore that generation where love, patience and family spent time together. Christmas Eve service set the mood. In my mindís eye Iím back at my Dadís feet, singing, giggling, listening to stories of Christmas past, pleasant times so far back. Can you see me there and feel the floor I am on? Thank you for coming along with me. Hoped you enjoyed it all?