Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Very Special Christmas Eve

A very special Christmas Eve. For those of you who have asked, I do still write "Walker Stories", but don't post many anymore. I'm hoping to maybe publish some in the near future. Here's one of the oldies that some of you probably haven't seen.
Walker spends a great deal of time in his room or playroom with his assortment of stuff, and as I have come to realize in recent years, sometimes plans surprises for us all.
After Molly and Robert were married some of our traditional holiday customs had to be adjusted to accommodate the young couple’s desires to share the holidays with both of their families. It was agreed that our main Christmas meal would be on Christmas Eve, and I decided to invite Robert’s parents to join us. It was an opportunity for a new tradition, and we were all looking forward to it, but I was a little nervous about expanding our family to include the Gooches. Walker, however, was thrilled. He had enjoyed Robert’s parents, and especially his brother, Perry, during the wedding festivities, and the idea of having them with us made it like a party.
As I was making last minute preparations for the dinner, Walker came into the kitchen and asked me if he could say the blessing. This was a privilege he usually declines, probably because he is a little apprehensive about forgetting the words to the memorized blessings that his sisters have used through the years, so I was surprised, but readily gave him permission. I set up the buffet and everyone gathered in the dining room. As we bowed our heads, Walker began cleared his throat nervously and began to recite,...”T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds....”
I panicked, caught between being impressed with the time and effort it must have taken him to memorize the long poem and being uncomfortable with all of us standing there with our heads bowed in prayer as he recited it. The girls were stifling giggles, but Molly’s new in-laws acted as if this sort of blessing were the most natural thing in the world on Christmas Eve. Walker continued, “On Dasher, on Prancer, on Comet and Blixen...”
Finally, he began to stumble over the words to a difficult portion of the poem, and I suggested to him that maybe we should go ahead and eat our dinner before the food got cold. I assured him that he could finish the poem after dinner. He shrugged his agreement and we proceeded with the meal.
When dinner was done, Walker asked to be excused while we ate dessert. A few minutes later, I heard him clear his throat, and looked up and saw him sitting on the stairs with his “Night Before Christmas “ book. As we enjoyed the last of the wine with our dessert, Walker read the poem to us.

I don’t know whether using “The Night Before Christmas” will ever catch on as a blessing, but Walker’s well rehearsed version was a blessing to all of us that Christmas Eve.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mama on Mother's Day

I know it's a Hallmark Holiday, and I've already posted a nice piece that someone else wrote about what I really want from my family which is more of the most precious commodity they possess...their time. How presumptuous of me! I remember those days when I felt like I was being pulled from every direction...children, friends, husband, community and perhaps a job, church...and the last person I needed needing me was my mother!  Anyway, how can I not think of Mama on Mother's Day????

I have some letters I wrote to her through the years that she had saved, and almost invariably they begin with an apology for not writing more, not visiting more, not calling more.  There were times when she called me so often that I dreaded hearing her say, "Haven't heard from you lately." because of the guilt it stirred up.  But through the years,  late in the afternoon, after five when the rates went down, and I'd put one of my ubiquitous casseroles in to cook and had a little time on my hands, I'd  pick up the phone and call her.  I knew she'd be thrilled....she always seemed to be.  I know I am when one of my girls call and the rates are cheap all the time!

She never scolded me particularly for not being more attentive, and after a few days visit from our rather large brood of children, I have a feeling she was pretty happy to settle back into peace and quiet and a couple of phone calls a week.  What I think she really would have treasured was some of my undivided attention, something I seldom found time to give her.  I found that time in the last weeks of her life.  At the end, I made her custard she had no taste for and did her laundry and took her to the oncologist who admitted her to the hospital, never to return to the little patio home she was so proud of.  I went back there and climbed up in the ugly blue velour recliner and rocked myself and cried because I realized that the time to give her what she wanted was over.

Today I went out to see if I had gardenias from's just about time and Mama seldom disappointed me...and sure enough, there were exactly three blooms.  One each for me, my brother and my sister.  There will be many more later on, but for Mother's Day, she sent me three.  If she were still here, she would get dressed up in a nice suit and pantyhose and low heeled shoes and pin a white rose on her bosom in remembrance of her mother, our Mamo, and go to church.  She would expect us to wear a red or pink one on our shoulder in honor of her.  I'm certain no suits or pantyhose will be involved for me or my siblings or my children  tomorrow, and church may or not be, and my rose will be white if I wear one, but all of us will remember Mama if we get a whiff of a gardenia in the next few weeks.