Yesterday, we put up our Christmas tree. It's always a bittersweet experience for me. After using many of the ornaments that we have acquired over the years, I open the box of "treasures". These are ornaments that have a special meaning for me. In the past, I taught ceramic classes in my basement. I am a certified ceramic teacher, and we had a small shop set up there. One year, I had a large basket of Christmas ornaments ready to paint, and asked each of my students to pick one out and paint it for me. They were to sign and date it. Last night, I pulled out the the nurse that Pap had painted, the Humpty Dumpty that Dee had painted, ornaments painted by my Aunt Sis and Aunt Eileen, and all the others. There was the feathered snow owl given to us by Rod's brother, Brian just a few years before he chose to leave this earth. There were other feathered birds so loved by my mom, and a trumpet for my dad.
The twins had made wedding soup for dinner, helped with the tree, and then baked chocolate chip cookies. But after they left and the house was quiet again, I started to think about holidays past. When I was a child, my Aunt Betty lived next door. She had no children, and was sort of a stern woman. But when the family played pinochle, we saw a different side of her. It was always the men against the women, and usually the men were victorious. After losing a few games, Aunt Betty would get up and walk around her chair several times while shouting, "Wahoo!" I'm not sure if it changed her luck, but it sure tickled us kids. My Aunt Ethel would always accuse my Uncle Virg of cheating. As I got older, and was able to join the game as a "man", I realized that he didn't cheat, but talked little during the game, and concentrated on the cards that had been played. We kids were given potato chips and pretzels to munch on while we watched TV, but were never permitted to have the Planter's mixed nuts that the grown-ups got.