Holiday Trifecta

Debbie Stanton | Stories


One memory in my mind only happened once

Christmas Eve when I was a teenager

Dad’s side of the family walked a block to church.

The five pairs of us

arm in arm in the bitterly cold evening

If the men were holding the ladies’ arms to prevent them from slipping

what happened to the men who slipped?

The snowflakes holding ice

hit our faces and the sidewalk with a ping

A homey, loving feeling ensued

quite different from the way old resentments always came up.

Before age seven

I loved going to Mom’s side of the family for Christmas Eve

she was always so happy to be with her family.

The youngsters and oldsters and everyone in between

As with the other side, food was in huge supply

Aunt Mildred had baked and cooked for weeks ahead.

Laughter and joy rang out

finally, the kids were herded off to the available beds

slept on top of the bedspreads

and felt chilled because there were no blankets to snuggle under,

my brand-new favorite doll Christina wedged under my arm

In our own home

miles from our families of origin

the four of us made our own traditions.

Soup and sandwiches for supper

Then Christmas Eve church

Presents opened with lots of fun and laughter

after which we had “lunch” —

Fruit salad, Christmas cookies and other delicacies.

I regret to inform you

one year I was selfish and ungiving

I resented a spinster lady from church

spending Christmas with us

I thought she wrangled an overnight invitation from Mom

How wrong I was

and how different I am now.

I’d give up a lot to be able to host someone for Christmas now

I’d give away the shirt on my back to help others

and I feel so in pain for others’ plights.

My parents and sister are gone now

I wish so much they were here

but maybe now I can treat every day like Christmas

treat each person like they were my family

appreciate good times when they are here

remember how time passes so swiftly

and love is needed everywhere.




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