The image I’ve used as the header for my blog during December this year is a picture that Number One Son took of his mother and me in our very first home at our very first Christmas together in December, 2001.
What I remember about that picture, besides how easy it was to get up after it was taken, was the giddy feeling of happiness I felt in sharing that holiday season with Pretty who clearly had a quintessential Christmas spirit that bubbled through every gift bought, wrapped carefully and placed under the tree she had picked out and decorated.
It was the first year we blended our families, of course, and I remember being nervous about having my mother visiting from Texas to meet Pretty’s family who would be driving down from the upstate. My mom, Granny Selma, was always a wild card under the best of circumstances so the only question mark was whether she would be on her I’m a lady with a lot of dignity so I must be on my best behavior or whether she would deliver one of her Jesus is the reason for the season monologues. Luckily, we had three dogs (Sassy, Annie and Red) that distracted her so she was limited to a long prayer at the dinner table.
Sixteen Christmases have come and gone since that first Christmas together in 2001, and Pretty has plowed her way through them like an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic. Full steam ahead – refusing to be deterred by lesser Bah Humbug mortals like me who whine about why we can’t cut a corner or two one year…or the heartbreaking absence of family members at her Christmas dinner table during a few of those years. Pretty kept on believing in the miracles of the season.
Pretty and her tree this year
Christmas night – Santa’s elves
now where did I put Papa’s gift?
everyone, please listen to me…our order of opening gifts
will be to go from the youngest to the oldest
Pretty Too, Number One Son and Papa
Pretty with her helper Charly – Jim and Sis paying attention
Gifts that made us smile…
I just love it when a plan comes together
mallow cups – Pretty’s favorite candy – hooray!
the miracle of laughter
“practical” gifts from Pretty for Papa who doesn’t believe in “luxury” gifts
Papa always made sure we had a box of “practical” gifts every Christmas
I just love my red apron
even the Grinch is getting in the spirit
love – the greatest miracle of all
more laughter… which is right up there behind love
presents, presents, everywhere – and not a cookie to be found
and more gifts, more laughter
how many more gifts can there be?
Papa’s shutterfly book: The Barns of Madison County
(the cover photo is the home in Appalachia where he was born)
and still more laughter
Lawdy, Lawdy – the Grinch actually bought me a present this year!
Merry Christmas to me
Yes, Merry Christmas to you, Pretty – I do believe this 17th. family Christmas of ours has been the best ever, and I thank you for keeping faith in the miracles of love, laughter and family not only during the holiday seasons but in every season of the year. We love you…