Christmas Eve, an exciting time for those of the younger generation or it used to be when I was a kid, many years ago. I do not know if any of us honestly believed in Santa Clause with his sled drawn by a herd of Reindeer but as a kid, it was a relevant story. As for coming down the chimney, that was very farfetched but possible as many of the fireplaces and chimneys in the old English cottages had fireplaces the width of the room. None the less, we all looked forward to the presents that we got on Christmas day knowing that they were bought for us by Mum or Dad or maybe a brother or Sister.
I remember when I was young during World War 2, and we did not have much as things were very scarce. I was interested in working with my hands even at that tender age and my sister, who was ten years older than me, showed me a woodworking kit containing a Fretsaw, attached to a piece of cardboard backing covered in plastic or some other covering that they had bought for me. She made the mistake of walking away and I had it opened and was trying it out in no time flat. When she came back and seeing what I had done, she took it away from me, telling me how bad I was for opening it prematurely. On Christmas Day. I received that same present in the condition that she had taken it back from me. No extra wrapping paper, no nothing, just the torn plastic cover. Still, I did not care simply happy to have it. I loved working with my hands even at a tender age. Now, after a lifetime spent in Construction and working with all kinds of grown-up tools including bulldozers, backhoes, cranes, and other kinds of mechanical monsters and driving Tractor Trailers for a living for a while, not so much anymore. I can still empty the tanks on the RV and do small repair jobs but prefer to pay someone else do the big and heavy stuff. I figure I have earned it.
I have never been a religious person although back in my younger days, I belonged to Church Groups mainly because all my friends did and besides, we had fun and games in the Church Hall playing indoor football amongst other things. I even sang in the choir until my voice broke. I got into an argument with the local Pastor during an educational bible session because I dared to question what he was expecting me to believe and not ask any questions. That ended my involvement with religion as a young man and it was not until I met my third wife, a practicing Catholic, did I renew my interest. Even though I loved her, I could not get into her religion with any true belief and in the end, gave it up as a bad job. Incidentally, her religion did not prevent her from finding another man and divorcing me.
Now, Christmas is a date on the Calendar. A time to send cards or gifts to those closest to me of whom there are now, very few. Many of my old acquaintances are either long gone to a better place or we are out of touch and have been for many years. I still occasionally bump into somebody like the other day when I was in Walmart’s parking lot and heard someone calling my name. Looking up, I saw this older Black couple with the man waving his arms at me. As we approached each other and he introduced himself and his wife, he gave me a big hug and then I recognized him as someone, back in the day, I had taught Football Referee classes to when we were all brothers-in-arms in the Football community. We chatted for a while before continuing on our way and I left feeling so grateful that he not only recognized me but took the time to say hello and was genuinely pleased to see me. Small miracles indeed. In truth, I probably would not have recognized him if I had seen him first but then again, I hardly recognize myself in the mirror anymore, such are the ravages that time and age bring plus of course, a failing memory for names and faces.
I continued back to my car wondering if I would have acted the same if I had seen him first or come to that, would I have recognized him anyway. I drove back to Henly thinking about the incident realizing how grateful I was that he took the time to chat with me. Back in Miss Daisy, I was greeted by two extremely excited little dogs demanding that we go out immediately which we did walking around the park and out on the roads outside. Overall, a very interesting day.
Written 12/24/2021 – Read my other blog at https://pondblog2011.com
I like hearing stories of when you were a kid growing up. I’m especially intrigued by the size of the fireplaces then, and you mentioned the other day that you had a crane in it. I would love to know the kind of things your mom cooked in the fireplace if she really used it.
We had an iron range in the kitchen and that is where all of the cooking and baking was done. Hard to control the heat and required constant watching both to control the flames and things in the oven. Burn’t food was not unheard of…