“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

The clouds are back, and the day is gray. The limbs of the oak trees are silhouetted against the sky in a jumble of branches. The morning is cold. Maddie has her head under the lampshade to get warmth from the lightbulb though the house isn’t cold. Fern and Gracie are having their morning naps. It is the usual start to the day.

The week or so before Christmas seemed to have a spark, an edge of excitement. I remember the early darkness and all the houses and front bushes lit up with the big colored lights which always got hot. The square was strung with garlands across Main Street and a huge lit wreath hung from the middle of each garland. A bandstand of sorts was erected in front of The Children’s Corner, a long ago store, and every night a different group sang Christmas carols for the shoppers. When I was in the fifth grade, we got to sing. I remember how cold it was and how we huddled to stay warm. We each had one of those carol booklets John Hancock gave out. The nun would tell us the page rather than the name of the carol. It was quicker that way. I remember feeling proud and important and hoped there were neighbors who would notice me singing. In those days the square had all the stores, and the sidewalks were filled with shoppers. You always ran into someone you knew.

Tomorrow is the Dennis Christmas stroll. All the stores are open, there are singers in the bandbox, a horse-drawn wagon takes people up and down the road, the library has a crafts fair and there is food in a tent and in many of the stores. The insurance company usually has hot dogs and the fire station gives out hot chocolate. At the Cape Playhouse there is a sing-a-long. Mrs. Claus is usually there. Mr. Clause wanders a bit. Many of the towns have strolls but this one always seems local to me, filled more with people from Dennis than from other towns. I always meet lots of people I know.

Today I’ll be going off Cape. Gracie has a sitter, her Uncle Tony. The cats are fine on their own. It’s our traditional Christmas play day and then out to dinner. My mother started the tradition, and my sister and I keep it going. My favorite was the year my mother took us to see Death of a Salesman with Brian Dennehy. After the play, with tongues in cheeks, my sister and I thanked her for such a merry Christmas offering then we all went out to dinner.

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10 Comments on ““When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    They have started to do things like that here too, in tye smaller towns and villages but they usually have it around December first. Not so much carol singing though, that died out ages ago here.

    The storm missed us totally and the snow didn’t fall either but lots of rain. We weren’t far from the snow though, the mountain was white covered with a thin layer of it this morning.

    Have a great time at the play!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I saw so may lights on the houses near where my sister lived. It was like a giant light show.

      I’ll take rain any time over snow. When it snows, you are stuck doing so much more like clearing cars, roofs and walkways. The rainiest falls.

      The play was excellent.

  2. flyboybob Says:

    The holiday season is always a joyous time of the year. The run up to Chanukah and Christmas builds excitement among the kids as they anticipate getting gifts. Regardless of the warnings from the clergy that the true meaning of the holiday is being subverted by commercialism, the truth is that religion has been subverted for years. I wonder if the ancient Roman priests were concerned that the true meaning of the solstice was being subverted by all that drinkingqqq and all those orgies.

    Last night on Shark Tank a Jewish entrepreneur was seeking an investor to spread the holiday cheer among Jewish families with a doll called the Mensch on the Bench. It’s a very far stretch from the real St. Nicholas to our present day Santa but there is nothing in Judaism like a Mensch on a bench. I think it’s a play on another holiday thing called the Elf on the Shelf. Everyone can have something to celebrate including the made up African Americain holiday Kwanza. I for one am in favor of George Castanza’s father who came up with Festuvious for the rest of us. Now everyone can spend more money, put up more lights and have a reason to make merry.

    The big let down comes after January first when we all realize that we still have two more months of cold icy weather ahead and no football, except for the Super Bowl, to keep us occupied. All the gifts have been exchanged and returned or re gifted and the credit card bills are due. The streets are dark and the only thing we have to look forward to is paying our income taxes in April. Enjoy the week before Chrismas even though the really good sales start on December twenty sixth.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I really loved that Santa was coming, but we did so many other fun stuff for Christmas. We decorated the house, iced sugar cookies, went on a look at the lights ride and some years wen into Boston to see the windows and the lights on the common.

      Does needing to be good or bad enter into a Judaic holiday? The elf reports to Santa every night abut whether the kids are good or not. Is that the duty of Mensch on the Bench. I like the name-it’s fun and clever.

      I actually bought five or six presents for this year during the after-Christmas sales last year.

      I’ working on my Christmas dinner menu.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    The Sun! It’s shining! Well, it’s shining through the clouds but strong enough to cast shadows and feel warm. I’ll take it. 🙂

    Wakefield had its Holiday Stroll last weekend. The horse and carriage was there. The food was there. The rain was there. It was a success all around.

    Enjoy your theatre evening.

    • katry Says:

      Caryn,
      I did see some blue sky on my way to Stoneham, but it didn’t stay around long.

      I didn’t realize Wakefield had one too. They are fun no matter where.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Just today we sang carols. It was our last choir Christmas concert of this season. We sang in a beautiful church and I’m very glad that the church was heated and we didn’t have to sing in the cold 🙂
    Your Christmas stroll tomorrow sounds like fun, please tell us about it afterwards.
    Have a great evening with your sister!

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I love listening to carols. I used to pay the school chorus to come to my house during Christmas time when I was having friends over for dinner. It was a money-maker for the chorus.

      I’ll give you a blow by blow!

      It was a great time with my sister.

  5. Coleen Says:

    My little hometown of West Long Branch will have its annual Christmas Sing under the town’s tree on Dec. 21rst. It’s been done for eons, and I can remember as a kid freezing my butt off, singing carols. This year I will cover it for the weekly I work for…guess I will sing, freeze my butt off, AND take pictures!

    Waving,

    Coleen

    • katry Says:

      Coleen,
      I would love a town sing. It would be so cool to have so any voices. I think the freezing your butt off is worth it besides it’s only once a year.

      Have a great time and stay warm.


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