Archive for Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday memories old and new

December 27, 2007

Enough already! I can't get Andy Williams singing "Happy Holiday" out of mind. I think I shall go crazy.

I like the song. It's one of the Christmas classics to me. But, for whatever reason, it's all I can seem to hear this year. That being said, I have had a happy holiday and I hope you have, too.

More than anything else, the holidays mean one thing to me and that's family. While always true, it was especially good to see this year with what I'm guessing will be my fondest memory of the season.

Brett, Anth and I went to my brother Steve's for Christmas dinner Tuesday. Their cousins, Rebecca and Kate, were also there. Those four have been together forever. They grew up together and are stair stepped in age apart. Rebecca was the first born, Brett was next, then Kate and finally Anth.

It has been so fun to watch them grow up together and they are definitely grown ups. So much so that Rebecca has two darling kids, my great nephew and niece, Brody and Delaney. They are indeed great.

Through the years, the four have had such a great relationship and had so much fun together. It's always amazed me that however long they're apart - and that's become more so through the college years - when they get back together they pick up right where they left off, like they've been around each other all the time.

It was so fun to watch them reminisce Tuesday, like they always do, but this year was a tad different. Brody, the grand nephew, had gotten a play microphone and stand that he can use to sing songs with. It's got lots of bells and whistles, including a button to push that plays applause. Everyone was urging him on and taking their turn with it.

Well, it sparked a memory for Kate. So, she started looking in old photo albums of Christmas pasts. Sure enough, in 1988, Anth had gotten a microphone similar to this one. None of the others remembered it - including me.

But, there it was, preserved for posterity. It was an absolutely classic photo of the four of them around the Christmas tree. Anth - who was an adorable 3-year-old - was holding his microphone and Rebecca had one, too. The four of them were singing a song - who knows what, they don't remember that. The expressions on their faces were fabulous. My sister-in-law, Lori, had titled the picture "The Fab Four." They indeed were and still are.

That got them to reminiscing some more. They could all remember a game they played one Christmas that they made up. But, none of them could remember the name of the company that they were supposedly working for. They struggled the rest of the day trying to remember it. Us oldsters tried to help out, but weren't much help.

They could remember all the details of how they played the game and what they did, rolling around on the floor around windows and such what-not. There were "spies" from the rival company that were "after them."

Despite all the details they could remember, they never could remember the name of the company. That's what happens when you get old - the memory goes. I guess they really have grown up.

During the day, Delaney - who isn't a year old and is in the early, cute stages of learning to walk - took a tumble and bumped her head. Brett made the comment that he doesn't know how the Fab Four survived that age. They've never been around the early stages of kids to know that boo-boos, both big and small, happen. But, they're learning.

That also got me to reminiscing last night of boo-boos big and small when they were growing up. It wasn't hard for me to remember several, including the grand-daddy of them all.

It was when Brett was 2 or 3 and all of us were at my parents' house in Liberal for something - I'm betting Thanksgiving, but can't remember for sure; yes old man memory. Anyway for some reason - yep, can't remember, doesn't matter - I had the hood of our car up to show my brother and dad something. Yes, I can't remember what.

But, what I do remember is very, very vivid. When I was done showing them whatever, I slammed the hood down and it was a big, heavy hood. I still shudder to this day about what happened.

Somehow, Brett had managed to get his hands in the path of the closing hood. I was horrified and so was everyone else around. Despite my shock, all I could think about was the horror of all of his fingers - gone.

I raced to the car door, opened it and pulled the hood release button, almost wishing not to see what had happened. A fingerless boy was too much to bear. I was absolutely heart sick and already swearing that I'd never forgive myself.

But, by some miracle or something, when my brother grabbed Brett after I'd opened the hood, there were no cut off fingers. In fact, there wasn't even a scratch. I still can't believe it to this day. My doctor brother gave the fingers a thorough checking over and pronounced all was well, nothing broken, nothing cut, nothing wrong at all.

I still feel the relief today.

I was talking about it with Brett and he remembers it, too. Despite his youth he could not only recall the event, but also that he was taken inside and ice applied to his hands. He could also remember the car - "It was our Caprice Classic, wasn't it?" Yes, it was. I was surprised he remembered the incident at all.

Growing up, growing old and losing your memory is what life's all about. I see that more and more - mostly in myself - but am now seeing the whole thing come full circle as our family goes full circle with the next generation here.

More room for memories. Happy Holidays to you.

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