Merry Christmas. I didn’t realize how lonely Mom and Dad must have felt after we all grew up and had our own families. We always went there for Christmas Eve but Christmas day was for our own families.
Christmas Eve at Mom and Dads was always exciting. Dad always insisted on lots and lots of candy. They would go into Omaha to buy candy. When I was a kid I remember going to P street market for Christmas supplies. We would always get apples and oranges. Then we would fill up bags of nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts. You get the picture. There were bins full of candy. Dad would scoop out chocolate stars, peanut clusters, caramels, on and on into brown bags.
Christmas Eve would start with a candle light dinner of fish and lentils. Mom would always tell the story of Jesus birth and growing up a poor son of a carpenter. Our dinner was to symbolize a poor mans dinner. As kids we all hated lentils but we ate them because we were told the more lentils you ate on Christmas Eve directly correlated to the wealth you would have the following year. (When I was a kid Grandma would be with us for Christmas Eve.) After dinner dad would always say something like …. Did you hear that? Did you hear those bells? The kids would throw on coats and run outside to look for Santa. We would always run all the way back to the apple orchard (I can’t remember why we went that far back) then walk around looking into the sky. After a bit (it always seemed like an hour but was likely 5 or 10 minutes) we would hear jingle bells and Dad would yell “Did you see him?” or something like that. We would run back to the house but Santa was always gone before we got there. We would go into the house and the dining room table was COVERED with the nuts and chocolates we got in Omaha. The Christmas tree was piled with presents of every shape and size. As the family grew and I added two girls then Barb added two kids (Betty and Marg never got home for Christmas) the piles of gifts got larger. (After Dad died Mom went even crazier with gifts. As a single parent I always felt inadequate because I was not able to provide for the kids as much as Mom and Dad did.) The floor was covered with paper. We were encouraged to rip into gifts with gusto.
I can only imagine the let down Mom and Dad felt on Christmas day when they were all alone. I never thought about what they were feeling.
Phil and I have had a trying year … it has been physically, financially and mentally challenging. It was no surprise that Christmas seemed to loose its normal excitement. Marci, Matt and Mike are all far away so there was no way they would be here. Delana lives 15 minutes away but her schedule is full. They came out Christmas Eve morning for 3 hours. The kids had to go so they could spend the rest of their day with their dad. Phil and I had agreed not to stress about buying each other gifts. We didn’t even get a tree this year. There was NO Christmas spirit at Pooh Acres this year.
We decided to do nothing today. We had planned to go to a movie, but that seemed to be too much trouble so we decided to stay home. Phil did the morning chores, and I did the afternoon chores so almost all day was spend doing nothing. I don’t think I could do that every day, but it was fun for one day.
2012 has only a few days left. For that I am grateful. I am hopeful that 2013 will be much kinder to the O’Leary’s and Pooh Acres.