Well it is nearly here, December 24th, on the west coast, dry weather, temperatures in the low 70s, the Big Sur fire now contained, shoppers finally draining their bank accounts, and above all, it is Christmas Eve.
How many of you remember that day of anticipation, the day that your parents felt was long coming and wished to be over? At my house we could not open any presents until after going to the service at the downtown Cathedral, the one that began at 11 pm and ended about 12:15 am with the singing of Silent Night to candlelight. My feelings were that this was a hardship, a time when we should have been home. not squirming in the pews, waiting to see if we needed to sing all the verses to all those hymns!
Once we got home my father thought, and said so repeatedly, that we should open only one present on Christmas eve, and then the rest once the new day dawned. For many years we each got two presents, mostly homemade. Mom and Dad gave each other a card, Times were hard, but we had a real tree, real decorations outside and in, and good neighbors who came to the front door caroling some nights.
Our various dogs were always willing to joust with the tree while we were at church, but we never had a fallen one. One year, one of our dogs named Edgar, ate an ornament or two, and was miserable for a few days. Friends of my parents who owned cats often told of their little evil pets climbing the tree or doing other nasty things nearby. We were not cat people, and it was as if they were explaining calculus to us.
My dad was sentimental to the point of being morose on Christmas eve, and I never asked him why. We had that "Cat's in the Cradle" relationship immortalized in song, he was and then I was too busy. I held his hand many years later as he lay in the hospital succumbing to cancer. I was about to say something when he asked me to forgive him, for everything.
I could not speak, but I wished I could be there again on that Christmas Eve, to appreciate the church service. and the opening of just one present; the gift of life he gave me.
Merry Christmas Eve Dad.
Maybe some Insiders would like to share their holiday memories? If so, please do here.