Christmas Makes The Rest Of The Year Worthwhile
Thanksgiving Day is a mere 10 days away and Christmas but 38, so the snow trumpets that Winter is neigh and the Holidays begin.
Today I awoke early, knowing that snow was predicted and I wanted to watch the morning arise with the glistening white mantle adorning trees, lawn and all man-made features that seem almost a work of art when snow clings to every untouched nook and cranny it can find.
Years past I would have put on some Christmas records, or years later Christmas cassettes or then CD’s, but now I just turn on my tablet, pick Pandora One and the room is filled with choruses proclaiming the joy of Advent.
So many wonders, changes and marvels have happened since my first Christmas of 1946.
I’ve never really understood my fascination with Christmas. Never quite understood why out of my parents and I, out of my Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts, it is I who feels a kindred spirit to all things Christmas.
When I was a young man, and no longer living at home, every Christmas Eve I would call my American Grandparents, all my Uncles and Aunts to wish them a Merry Christmas, then I’d call my Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle in England to wish them a Happy Holiday.
Needless to say, you could hear the surprise in most of my relatives voices when they heard me on the other end of the phone.
My greatest joy was the first Christmas I spent In England. I was 21 and I remember that Christmas Eve as I walked to the Church and it started to snow just like watching the snow fall this morning.
What a wonder for this Dickens’ personality. This “Irish rough.” This “Medieval Spirit.” To look out across the rolling fields and see the moon shining off the falling snow, as it landed on country lanes and hedgerows.
Several years, after I returned from the service, my parents found out that I was “Gay” and I was asked not to come home and it was Christmas time.
So over the many years that followed, no matter where I was, I would put up a tree, listen to Christmas music and cook my self a turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn.
After doing the dishes I would sit, eat a piece of fruit cake, drink a glass of sherry and smoke my pipe while I watched TV.
Oh yes, and I still called all the relatives on Christmas Eve, but now, I added my parents to that list.
When I was 28, my Father died shortly after that Christmas we spent a part. I do remember my phone call to wish my parents a Happy Holiday and Dad’s voice, weak and throaty from the cancer saying that he “loved me.” It was one of the very few times my Dad used the word love and even in that sad time, it was a wonderful Christmas gift.
Mom and I still were distant until my early 40’s. So many more Christmases a part.
Even the calls to the relatives became fewer as they passed away but no matter where I was I still put up the tree, cooked the turkey and made the trimmings for Christmas.
In 1989 I met Bob. His family didn’t celebrate the Holiday. So our first Christmas was spent together at a restaurant we found that was open.
In 1990 my Mom asked me what I was doing for Christmas? By then Bob and I had a small apartment and were planning to celebrate together. I explained that to Mom and she invited me to her house and she invited Bob to join us, knowing he had no place to go for Christmas. We took Mom up on the offer.
Mom treated Bob like family. Tho she never inquired or asked about our relationship, tho still was obviously not happy about me being gay.
Every Christmas after that, Mom made sure that she asked me to come “home” for Christmas and to “bring Bob.”
A couple of weeks after Christmas of 1993, Mom passed away in her sleep. She had heart problems.
The night she passed, it was bitterly cold. I had stopped by to run and pick up some items for her. After having a cup of tea I got ready to leave. She said, “Hey lad, give us a hug,” and then added as she reached her arms around me, “I love you and tell Bob I love him too.”
So many Christmas missed, but with one hug, one “I love you,” they all were forgotten and I was a child again.
Guess I can’t end this post without saying that for the last 26 Christmases I have not been alone. Both Bob and I have been together and celebrate the “magical season” of Christmas.
Dad, I miss and love you.
Mom, I miss and love you.
Bob, Merry Christmas!