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Date Posted: 14:49:52 12/17/16 Sat
Author: Denny (Whalen)
Subject: Roses in December

Before you get the impression that I'm idling the afternoon away, you should realize that the time shown for posts on the forum are three hours earlier than the time you actually write and send them. If I had noticed this time differential before, I'd forgotten it. It was just as I settled into my favorite chair and picked up my Kindle and logged in that I noticed the time of my "drive by". Since I included the time of my stopping in this morning, I now am reminded that our forum host is located on the West Coast. Just thougbt you'd like to know this useless bit of information. I didn't rise until 4 AM, so I know I hadn't stopped by at the 03 dark hundred hour shown unless I had done it in my sleep. To the point of this post..

I flicked on the television to one of those smaltzy, feel-good Hallmark Christmas movies; you know the ones I mean if there's an ounce of romantic in you. A seasonal song was playing. They start playing Christmas music so early each year that by this date I'm usually sick unto death of the stuff but today was different.

As I reclined (did I fail to mention my favorite chair is a trusty lazy boy...quite.appropo), I glanced over at our Christmas Tree, all aglow and reflecting on the ornaments and I began to reminisce about Christmases past. My mind strays like that...memories float out of closed drawers and borne on the dust; triggered by a piece of music, a whiff of a scent, the feel of a fabric, a photograph, a taste of a treat once enjoyed before.

I decided to try to recall nearly three quarters of a century's Christmases and as I began sorting through the memories swirling like snowflakes search for my earliest recollection of the holiday, I was disppointed to realize I couldn't find one before 1950.

That was the year my two brothers and I received tractor trailers, log trucks actually,complete with logs. My youngest brother was only six months old so I know our father got them on the guise of each of us having one, but he spent an awful lot of time playing with the third one so I knew he'd really bought it for himself.

Jump two years to the next memory to escape, the bonanza year. Mom and Dad had divorced and my brothers and I began a four year journey through the New York State foster care system. The raging custody battle had each of them trying to outdo the other to "win our favor". I have no memory of specific gifts, just that there were a lot of them; more than previously.

The year I was thirteen my brothers were living with our mother's parents in Oregon and I was still in Syracuse. I had chosen to live with my father's parents and that Christmas I had let them know that all I desired was a bow and arrows. The small pile of gift wrapped packages before didn't resemble what I envisioned as my heart's fondest wish. The usual socks, underwear, and a sweater were revealed, and I know my disappointment was clear, despite my forced appreciation.
After letting me dwell in despondency as long as they could contain themselves, my grandfather (who I was convinced knew everything, could do anything--including walk on water) suggested I look behind the tree. I still feel the rush I felt when I found a package that could not be mistaken for anything other than a bow. Tucked under the low hanging boughs was a box of arrows with finger and arm guards.

My life had many changes through the years but only two more Christmases were found floating in an increasingly intense storm of memories. The Christmas of 1961 caught up with me in Denver, CO. I had a 48 hour pass...to short to travel home...and I spent the day walking the streets, eating a turkey plate at a downtown cafe, and going to the movies. I think, but not sure, I saw King of Kings. That might have been what I saw at Easter...that snowflake must have melted a tad.

The next,and last Christmas I recall vividly, was the first I spent with Amy(spouse) and her family. That was 1964. I'll spare the readers the details, other than I hitched up from South Carolina and stayed nights at a close to hand motel as the home was filled with family, sleeping at night in every available space. Thinking about that Christmas caused me to recall a couple more subsequent ones, but the basketball game has come on (UNC vs UK) and I am distracted.

If you've stuck with me through this stroll down my memory's lane, thanks. If you escaped earlier, you didn't read this.

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