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Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Rides Tonight!

When I was a kid, Christmas was definitely the best time of the year!  You see, I was born on a small farm in North Carolina and we didn't have a lot of store-bought things to play with.  We seldom got "store-bought" candy or "store-bought" toys or "store-bought" fruit. 

My mother made home-made cakes, pies, ice cream, fudge and molasses candy, but because it didn't come from a store, we disdained it -- while we gobbled it down!  We had apple, peach, pear, hickory nut and black walnut trees; white, red and purple grape vines, all the huckle berries, blackberries, melons and cantaloupes we could eat -- but because they were home grown and not "store bought," deep down inside we really weren't as grateful as we should have been.  Little did we know!

So when Christmas time rolled around, we kids would be giddy with joy and telling each other "I know I was good!"  "Nuh-uhn, I was better than you!"  On Christmas Eve the older ones would tell us young'uns "You better watch out, Santa rides tonight!"  We knew that meant a candy cane, a toy if we were lucky, and lots of "fruit and stuff."  Now, we did have a fireplace but somehow we never expected Santa to come down the chimney, so we would "set a box" to collect our booty.  Sometimes we'd be in bed by 7 pm, waiting for Santa!

Sure enough, when Christmas morning rolled around we saw that Santa had come through one more time!  There were big grins aplenty, lots of sweet treats, and enough excitement to keep us out of mischief for at least a few days...

I think that our childhood memories are sometimes the best ones for two reasons - one is that we can recapture the feelings we had and relive them; the other is that we look at those experiences from an adult's perspective and see how precious that time of innocence really was.  We were forced to use our imagination because there were no iPods, Nintendos, Wii, robotic this or that... A stick could become a baseball [pinecone] bat, a pony if you straddled it, or a pogo stick if you held it straight and jumped high enough.

Times have changed and gotten more complicated, but memories live on.  So, this Christmas I hope we can all celebrate where we are right now in our lives, knowing that precious memories are still being created that we can pull out, examine, and be grateful for... not only by us but also by the ones we love.

Until later

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