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

The morning is cold again, below freezing, but it is a pretty morning with a bright sun and blue skies. The breeze is ever so slight and moves only the dead leaves at the ends of the oak’s branches. It is a quiet morning.

Yesterday I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t feeling up to par as my mother would have said so with Christmas getting closer, I am starting to panic. I have rewritten my to-do list at least twice now. I swear it gets longer every time.

When I was a kid, the lights on our front bushes had large bulbs. After a snow storm, the snow around the colored lights would melt and the lights shined through the snow. It was beautiful. I use those same size bulbs on my front fence and on my tree. I always think of my father and his tangled messes of lights.

I have so many memories of Christmas, but one Christmas I remember the most. My brother and I woke up early that Christmas morning when it was still dark. Everyone else was asleep. We decided to go to the earliest mass. I remember the streets were quiet. We saw no cars. Lights were on in only a few houses. Our footsteps echoed on the sidewalk. When we got to church, we saw the mass was upstairs, unusual as the earliest masses were usually downstairs in what I always thought of as the cellar. When we got inside, we saw a side altar was lit and a few women were sitting in the pews. We joined them. The priest came out by himself, no altar boys. The mass back then was in Latin. The ladies and my brother and I made the responses, also in Latin. There was no sermon so the mass finished quickly. On the way home we saw more lights shining from inside peoples’ houses. We didn’t tarry. It was Christmas morning, and we couldn’t wait to celebrate.

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8 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. Bob Cohen Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Memories are the one thing no one can take away from us. Unfortunately, transmitting them orally to our children or writing them down is the only way to preserve them. An oral record suffers in acurracy because each time the memory is repeated it’s changed in the mind of the receiver. Recording them on electronic media presents the problem of obsolescence. My wife’s grandmother lived into her late nineties and I interviewed her about her family memories on VHS tape. Because video technology has moved on I can’t find a VHS player and digital converter to digitize the interview. Then, where and how can I store it for future generations? DVD discs and players are also becoming obsolete. The movie industry has the same problem because the original negatives of classic movies are slowly deteriorating. Writing memories down suffers from the longevity of paper and ink assuming that it doesn’t get lost or destroyed. Maybe our memories should have a short lifespan allowing thus allowing future generations to make and enjoy their own memories without interference from our recollections.

    A partly cloudy morning with high temperatures in the 60s.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      My uncle spent so much time with my grandfather getting his history and stories of our family. My uncle told his kids so they can know. I agree memories should be written down and passed along. Most of my mother’s generation is gone now. I remember Aunty Clara and her generation. It is amazing that I am part of the older, oldest generation.

      I guarantee you can find places which can convert VHS tapes. I found a place which converted my slides to DVD’s. I still have my slide projector, but I wanted them better preserved. The movie industry is working hard to preserve as many movies as they can. They are stored in vaults meant to continue their preservation.

      I think generations build on each other. I would not want all my family’s memories lost, and I don’t see how they interfere with the current generation’s memory making.

      It is cold!

      • Bob Cohen Says:

        Yes Costco can do that, but if they put it on DVD that format is also going away. The only choice is uploading the files to the cloud and who knows if that’s secure or will be around in ten years.

      • katry Says:

        I have a record player, a cassette player and a DVD player. All we need is the equipment. I can still play what becomes obsolete.

  2. Rowen Says:

    Great story. Sounds like a mass for people with a big day ahead of them. I like that early morning time in the winter, especially on a holiday.

    • katry Says:

      I was a kid. I wanted to get back to my presents.

      That walk has stayed in my head. I can close my eyes, and it all comes back to me.

      • Rowen Says:

        Walks like that have a way of hanging around. 😉

        I’m interested in the ladies too. What was their day like? It’s fun to imagine.

      • katry Says:

        I remember them as old. Because it was a side altar, the pews were fewer in number, and the ladies sat scattered singularly for the most part. I wondered what they thought of my brother and me.

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