who knew the 17th. Christmas was the charm?

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

The Grinch

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 

more gifts

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…



About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to who knew the 17th. Christmas was the charm?

  1. kirbappeal says:

    I so loved this post. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, T, Spike, Charly and the rest of your family.

    Liked by 1 person

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