A Christmas Memory

As a child, I lived with my grandparents until I was five. My cousins lived in the same time and they were close to my age. I was an only child, so it was as a gift of temporary siblings. One Christmas I remember going back to my grandparents for a large family celebration.

My grandparents had a camper, and us kids spent the night there… giggling and trying to keep each other awake so we could see Santa sneak into the house. The cookies and milk had been set out and we all had opinions as to which ones he’d like the best. My grandma’s tree was live and the house was full of the pine scent. Back then there was no such thing as ‘artifical’ trees. The lights were huge round balls of various colors, and the ornaments were shiny and bright, reflecting the glow. Already wrapped packages tucked under the limbs and overflowed out into the room… all of us scolded at one time or another during the evening not to dare touch the presents. Of course, there were always the adults that would go by and pick up a random package and shake it, making dire predictions as to what the package held.

How our eyes shone with wonder as we flocked in the house on Christmas morning, our jammie feet covered with snow we were too much in a hurry to brush off. My girl cousins and I got beautiful dolls with gowns and flowing hair… just right for brushing and brushing and brushing. My boy cousins got cowboy hats and cap pistols. (Before everyone became so p.c.)

Dinner was only a momentary pause for us kids between playing our new games and making the adults play with us one day out of the year. They were full and most of them would rather play games with the kids than clear the table and do the dishes. This was before dishwashers, too.

By evening the house would be full of tired, cranky kids and even more tired cranky adults. Everyone anxious to get home to their own beds and some peace and quiet. Another Christmas come and gone… at least one toy or doll broken already. Home, to dream of another year of wishes.

Red Ribbons

It’s snowing. Again. More. Lots. I’ve got homemade bread going, homemade chicken soup on the stove, the fireplace, Christmas music on the stereo, and a thick book on my lap. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this???

I couldn’t get a good enough picture, but had to share this miracle of a winter moment. I came upstairs yesterday afternoon to see the large mulberry tree outside the deck festooned with red ribbons. At least, that’s what it looked like. I was so amazed that my mouth dropped in wonder. You’ve probably figured out from the picture, but yes, it was covered with cardinals. Gorgeous, fire-engine red male cardinals. They were spread out as though I had personally placed each one on its’ own branch and told it to stay there. I stopped counting at ten, as I ran to get my camera… and I tried to get a few photos, but only I will be able to see them in the trees, as I kept getting flashback on the window and couldn’t seem to get zoomed in or out in a good enough way to catch the magnitude of what I was seeing. The most I saw last winter at a time, were six. Hubby says they’re getting the word out… I know male cardinals don’t get along in the spring and summer, so it’s very strange to see so many hanging out together in the wintertime when they will tolerate each other.

Of course, besides the males there were at least 5 females I counted, three bluejays, and the finches, nuthatches and woodpeckers. But I tell ya, those cardinals are heart-stoppers.

Hope you’re getting to enjoy this beautiful day!