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Dec. 2012

Christmas is coming, and I always feel like a kid again when “‘Tis the Season”—
good thing since I just had another birthday in late November! Ugh!
Anyway, all cares seem to drift into the background, and I get giddy with
shopping, all the lights decorating neighborhoods, parties we attend, baking
goodies my hips don’t need, and church choirs singing their beautiful cantatas.
I miss the wonderful ‘Christmas Specials’ that use to be on television every year.
I know you oldies will remember, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Dean
Martin, Andy Williams, and all the others who put on such great specials back
in the day? It’s sad to say, Christianity has been pushed so far to the bottom of
the pile by a liberal government and growing number of atheists, I fear those
Christmas entertainment shows are gone forever from the TV screen! It’s sad
too because when I was young, everyone not only enjoyed the lights, Santa,
and all the fuss, but Christ and the church was always just a natural part of
the celebrations in most homes, our Christmas plays at school, and of course,
church. Yes, Jesus was a part of everyday school in the fifties & sixties, and
Christmas plays were too. Afterall, isn’t that what Christmas is—A Mass for God
in celebration of his birth?
As I’ve said before, we were not wealthy when I was growing up on the small
farm Mom & we kids managed to run while Dad was logging to make ends meet.
We weren’t alone—everyone seemed to be in the same situation. But, thank
God, competition among our peers was not what it is today—there were some
kids who were worse off than others, and some much better off, but kids of that
time respected each other, and sincerely felt sorry for those who suffered through
no fault of their own. There were no $150 dollar tennis shoes to covet, or mink
coats on the shoulders of our moms, and the attitude was more like: We’re all in
this together, and we won’t let present circumstances defeat us.
Being ‘on the dole’ was something to be purely ashamed of, and having babies
out of wedlock was considered a horrid sin, abortion was illegal, and parents,
cops, preachers and teachers were to be respected or sparing the rod on bratty
kids God warns about in the Good Book would surely lead us down a demon’s
path of destruction, and disrespect, (much as kids actually act today). Now, I’m
not talking about beating children bloody, I’m talking about kids fearing a good
swat on the rear if they don’t follow the rules at home, in school, church, or in
public. More Christianity taught nowadays couldn’t hurt our youth!
Through poverty and worry, somehow my folks, grandparents on both sides,
aunts, uncles, and cousins made Christmas very merry every year with hordes
of yummy traditional foods, and presents under the tree we were anxious to
peek into, and sometimes did unbeknownst to our folks! (OK, I admit it! We
were naughty sometimes in spite of strict rules to be followed). As my hubby says,

“That’s every kid’s job—to try and get around the rules as much as possible.”

I know things are easier now for most people, and everything can be purchased
cheaply from China, Welfare and Food Stamps provide better for families and
single mothers than some working for a living earn, and no one goes without
unless they want to lay-about on the street in a drunkin’ or drug-induced stupor.
But I miss those tin-foil covered stars cut from cardboard we placed on top of our
tree, and the cheap glass balls that got fewer and fewer each year because of
accidental breakage, and the colorful garland rings we made at school from soft
contact paper, then rushed home to encircle our tree from top to bottom, and the
silver tinsel in long strands we layered carefully across the branches to make the
tree glitter with a look of icicles on every bough. It makes me teary now to see
in my mind’s eye those wobbly trees dad would set up with the bare branches
turned to the wall where no one could see all the loss of greenery that had blown
off as he flew down the road with a tree tied to the front fender of his logging
truck after he’d cut one in the woods on the way home from a long day. Yes, I
know it sounds hysterical to some, but somehow, it became a tradition at our
house. One, I admit, I still hold dear in my holiday memories.
Dad was the SCROOGE of Christmas, and though I write glowing poems
describing him as a Godly man—he was not much of a believer. (Mom was the
one who took us by the ear, and drug us to church whether we protested, or not!)
Dad actually hated the expense and hullabaloo of the ‘Christmas Season’. He
was a Dutchmen to the bone, and was so tight with what little money he did
earn, I swear he squeaked when he walked. He wanted all the glory for what
meager gifts we may have gotten from he and Mom, so he made the same
announcement each year until we kids had it memorized, and could say it right
along with him; “I’m Santa, and this year, Santa’s broke!”
It was a hard way to grow up, and Mom, having a passive personality, didn’t
try to temper his complaints, or bah-humbug attitude, though I wish she had
because I secretly envied the kids who believed in Santa Claus, and watched
excitedly for him to come on Christmas Eve ‘til they fell asleep, and had to be
carried off to bed. Of all the kids who needed to have some make-believe in their
lives, WE WERE IT!
But, none the less, Christmas could not be dampened for us kids no matter how
hard he tried, and my brothers and I were running around wild with excitement
like all other kids of the day at Christmastime. In grade school, we were busy
with rehearsals to sing in the children’s choir at the Methodist church. (Oh, how
I remember those crepe-paper capes with a wide-red ribbon to attach around
our scrawny necks, and tie in a huge bow under our chins. (Does anyone else
remember them?) We had play rehearsals at school, and sang mostly Christian
songs…We were so cute, and innocent. I only wish the POWERS THAT BE
had left the true meaning of Christmas in schools, and public places just as it was
back then. As Dad also used to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” And our
society certainly wasn’t broken in the fifties. What a wonderful time to live…
This year, though my candidate lost the race to save America, my dad died in
late September, and my father-in-law passed in early November, I refuse to leave
my jaw on the ground, and let the wonders of Christmas pass me by without real
JOY in my heart. I just refuse to go there. Life goes on, and Christmas is a time
to celebrate our own good fortune, and Christ’s coming to save us all from sin if
we only believe!
Well, I’ve gone and got carried away, but as I warned you, my head is full of
MEMORIES & MERRIMENT this time of year!
A little Christmas ditty below for your enjoyment…

Three Golden Christmas OrnamentsSANTA’S COMIN’— IT’S CHRISTMASTIME!Three Golden Christmas Ornaments

Three Golden Christmas OrnamentsMy Mommy says that Santa
is comin’ in December
to show us how the Wisemen
brought gifts to Jesus, do you remember?

I learned the bible story
‘bout why we celebrate,
an’ how those guys followed a star
to be sure an’ not be late.

They say, Mary and Joseph
got a baby boy
who was sent down by His Father
to give us peace and joy.

The story says, “A king was born”
in a place where cattle sleep,
an’ when daddy reads it to me,
it makes my mommy weep.

Christmas Tree with Shiny StarWe put up a Christmas tree,
I think yesterday,
an’ dad put a shiny star on top
for Santa to find his way.

There’s lots of lights that twinkle
coverin’ our yard,
an’ everyday our mailman
brings some purdy cards.

Mom’s makin’ lots a goodies—
I can smell ‘em when she’s cookin’,
an’ I sneak a cookie really fast
when she isn’t lookin’.

My cousins are comin’ soon
to stay right here with us,
an’ Uncle Louie—he’ll come too,
Daddy says, “That guy is nuts!”

My grammas an’ grampas
are helpin’ Santa out.
They say they’re bringin’ presents,
if I don’t cry, or pout.

My sister wants a dolly
she can cuddle with an’ dress,
but I like bee-bee guns,
an’ trucks, an’ all the rest.

I really want a pony
like Mary used to ride.
When she went to get her baby,
Mom says, “She rode far an’ wide.”

Dad says that’s not a pony
just a donkey with big ears,
but if Santa Claus will bring me one,
I’ll be happy ‘til next year.

So Have a “Merry Christmas”
at your house, just like me,
an’ if you’re really good all year,
they’ll be stuff underneath your tree!

Tamara Hillman



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