Remembering Christmases

December 14, 1967 I wrote . . .
I always liked to walk in the rain. It’s almost as relaxing as lying in the top bunk of a cabin in the north woods, with the un-insulated roof close above and just listening to the raindrops splash on the asphalt shingles.
Or, sitting under a pine tree in deer hunting season, watching large snowflakes fall from the sky, and listening to absolutely nothing. I spent a couple hours doing that this season.
It wasn’t really a rain last Wednesday night, more of a mist and fog, but it was relaxing. I was thinking of a topic for this column, among other things. I suppose it was natural that the first thing I jotted on my pad was Christmas.
I thought it funny, no, more unusual, that I could remember none of the Christmases in my adult life. That is, none that came quickly to mind. Only if I concentrate on it can I recall them.
I assume that just bears out the saying that Christmas is for kids. The Christmas that comes to mind first was in 1935 or ?36 when I was nine or ten years old. That year my sister, Barbara, and I were given a sled to share. It was a real beauty.
It had a chrome ring around the front and chrome runners. It was the classiest and brightest sled I’d ever seen and it lasted a long time. Boy, how it would glide down the hills at Bancroft and Shiawasseetown, over jumps, and with an occasional detour as I tried to cut the legs from under someone trudging up the hill.
I don’t remember Barbara ever using that sled, but I suppose we fought over it as we did everything else.
The only other Christmas I recalled during my walk in the rain was somewhere about the same time. I don’t remember receiving any gifts, only how we happen to have a tree Christmas morning, when we didn’t have one Christmas Eve.
As I got the story, eavesdropping over the register around the stove pipe that went up through our room, my brother, Dair, and his friend ‘Baldy? Allen, had ‘found? a tree to their liking in or around Owosso. No money changed hands during the transaction ’cause they didn’t have any.
With it they started hitchhiking to Bancroft . . . and got a ride with a deputy sheriff.
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December 14, 2005
Hazel and I made a big thing over Christmas, especially after the children came along. It became an even more celebrated day when grandchildren appeared.
Our last Christmas together comes first to mind now. December 25, 2000 was going great, as had all the others. Hazel had spent the usual too much time candying yams, making dressing, seasoning the turkey, baking pies, fixing two cranberry dishes, mashing potatoes and making gravy.
For the last few hours Hazel was dressed for visitors, while wearing an apron over her holiday dress.
All was ready for the feast, when Hazel said she had to lie down for a minute. Grandson, twin Trevor, age 15-months, crawled up on the davenport and laid on his grandmother.
His mother says he’s always been more of a lover than his sister Haley.
That picture of Hazel and Trevor is very vivid in my mind as this Holiday rolls around.
It was Hazel’s last Christmas, and she, having this extreme feeling for family, feasting and joy, made sure that everything was perfect for her family as long as she could.
That warm, warm scene of Hazel and Trevor will forever remain with me.

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