With new readers to boblamboutdoors.com, I’d like to share three of my favorite classic short stories from my Christmas memory pages posted December 2011.
It’s the peanutiest!!
Growing up in Eau Claire, Wis., my family belonged to Epiphany Lutheran Church.
Christmas meant the presentation of the Christmas Chorale, an event our junior choir practiced for weeks in advance.
At the end of the program, the choir members and all Sunday School students received lunch sacks containing an apple, an orange, a few pieces of candy and plenty of peanuts in-their-shells.
Being that I hail from a family of seven siblings, there were always several of us who were either in the choir, Sunday School or both. That meant, LOTS of peanuts! Upon returning home, the contents of our bags were pooled together and the peanuts poured into a large bowl.
Dad loved those peanuts! He ate himself sick on them nearly every Christmas. It became a family joke because Dad never learned!
When I remember Christmas as a child, I can’t help recall, of all things, peanuts!!
That’s why, when visiting Dad’s gravesite at Christmastime, I tote along one large bag of in-the-shell peanuts and empty them out onto the ground.
Yes, it’s in memory of Dad. But, at the same time, I smile thinking how much the squirrels enjoy the peanuts and must wonder if the peanut lady will show up again this year with their very own Christmas feast.
And, every year I hope the squirrels don’t end up with a big ol’ tummy ache like Dad did!!!
Our son, Jon, was a little tyke when our family started a tradition we continued year after year.
In the morning, we hauled the Christmas tree inside, placed it in the stand, and gave it until evening for the branches to come down.
Then, we prepared hot chocolate, set out a tray of goodies, put on Christmas music and set about decorating the tree together.
The really fun part came when we turned off all the lights, pulled out blankets and pillows and “camped under the stars” that first night.
We’d hum or sing Christmas carols, reminisce about Christmas’ past, discuss the true meaning of Christmas, take in the fresh pine fragrance, and feel blessed for the love of family.
By the time Jon reached middle school, we no longer carried out our tradition. That is, not until his younger brother, Evan, came along, when Jon was finishing his sophomore year in high school.
A few years later, while Jon was away at college, Bob and I took up our camping ritual once again with Evan.
The funny thing was, “somehow” we didn’t remember it being as uncomfortable sleeping on that hard floor as it was when we had last “camped” about six years before!
Bob didn’t even make it halfway through the night before he hobbled off to bed. I forced myself to suppress a giggle!
And to think all this time, I thought he was the outdoorsman!!! Bah humbug!!!
“Diamonds” are a girl’s best friend
Bob’s dad, Ray, pulled a few practical jokes in his time.
I was rarely his target. But, one Christmas, he did a “gotcha!”
Throughout that season, leading up to Christmas, he let elusive little hints slip, often in hushed tones. The jest of it was that I would receive an extra-special gift that year.
Words such as diamond and pin were whispered just loud enough for me to hear.
What was a girl to think?
The time for unwrapping gifts arrived.
We took turns going around the family circle, opening one present at a time.
“Save that one for last, Kath,” Ray chuckled with a wink and a grin, after I had chosen one particular package. Like most things in life, saving something for last usually means it’s the best.
Finally, after the rounds had been made and I was down to my final gift, I picked it up again.
I was totally embarrassed because all eyes were on me as I tore off the paper, lifted the cover from the box and peeked inside.
There, nestled in tissue paper, was my much-anticipated Christmas gift.
Ray had taken an extra-large safety pin and glued a dime on it.
Yes siree, right before my eyes sat my very own “dime-on” pin!!!!
May you and yours have a joyful Christmas and be richly blessed in 2019.