Saturday, December 21, 2019

Some Family Memories During the Holiday Season

This morning was one of those times when I channeled my mother for a little fun with my wife. We were both up earlier than we'd like on a Saturday morning and I decided to fix my wife breakfast. She had to head out for a bit, but when she came home, she was greeted with an omelette, bacon, a roll and tea. It gave me a chance to say (one time too many as I always seem to!) one of my mother's favorite lines: "It's not like I wanted anyone to thank me, but …" Ha! My mother was one of the most thoughtful and generous people I have ever known. But every once in awhile, it would stick in her craw if she did a bunch of stuff for some organization, or charitable endeavor, yet was amazed that sometimes the words "thank you" seemed to go missing.

Another thing my mom said as she aged was "You know, I'm getting older/over the hill." The smart-alecky son response was, of course, "Getting? What do you mean 'getting'?" Once one of her friends heard that I would say that and was astonished that one of my mom's kids would say that to her. I guess that woman's family didn't use humor the way that mine did.

For the early part of my life, the family Christmas tradition was to open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve starting at about 7:00 p.m. We would usually be joined by an aunt, uncle and cousin. Although they lived in the next town, we didn't see them very often. However, without ever even checking with my mom, they would show up every Christmas Eve. One year, my parents must have been in a snarky mood. Instead of staying at home and opening presents, we went out for the evening. I am guessing it was to my oldest brother's place. Since my aunt never called to confirm about coming over on Christmas Eve, my mom didn't bother telling my aunt that we wouldn't be there. When we got home later that evening, we saw tire tracks in the newly fallen snow in our driveway. To this day I still chuckle about that night.

When I was about ten years old, I was scared to hear that my father had a mild heart attack. I remember him cutting back on caffeine by drinking Sanka freeze dried coffee, trying to cut down on the booze, and trying to stop smoking cigarettes. The coffee part seemed to be no problem for him. He did get to a point years later when his alcohol consumption went down. He struggled with giving up smoking and tried to hide his smoking from the family by doing it outside the house. Like we didn't know when he came inside reeking of cigarette smoke, could see him hiding behind a bush next to our garage, or had a ton of cigarette butts next to the garage. My younger brother and I used to refer to my dad as "Smokey" (never to his face, of course!), and if someone was mad, we always said that the person was "smoking."

Years later and shortly before my dad passed away, I asked him about the mild heart attack. He acted puzzled, and I told him that it was when he started drinking Sanka. It was then that I found out that the mild heart attack was the cover story for the kids and that he actually had been having anxiety/panic attacks from work. I had no idea!

As for my present family, we will all actually be together for a short time this Christmas season. My wife has arranged for a photographer to take some family pictures next weekend. I am actually sort of looking forward to it.

Lastly, I wish a wonderful holiday season to the readers of this blog post. My father has been gone for 15 years and my mother passed away 3 years ago. Holidays are never quite the same when your parents are gone. Be thankful if you still have yours and do something extra nice for them. It will be something to look back on years later that will put a smile on your face.


Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Happy Holidays!

Mrs. Lightning hiring a photographer is a great idea. You'll be glad she did.

4:22 PM  
Blogger JT88Keys said...

I chuckled at your story about your dad hiding his smoking. For years my mom hid her smoking from my siblings and me. We all knew, but just let her keep believing we didn't. Her favorite hiding spot was in our detached garage. The garage had an indoor/outdoor dog kennel for my brother's hunting dog named Max. Max died while I was still in high school, so the kennel was vacant. If we asked where mom was and she was hiding in the garage smoking dad would say she went out to "feed Max".

8:30 AM  
Blogger Jilly said...

Happy Holidays!!

10:38 AM  
Blogger AyeCarambaPoker said...

Your story reminds me of when my dad tried to give up smoking. He’d go out into the garden at all hours “to check something in the shed” but we’d see his pipe flashing like a lighthouse in the dark

Merry Christmas (us Brits find the “happy holidays” so odd) to you and your family

8:33 AM  

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