Saturday, December 18, 2010

When Santa no longer visit

    It must have been my fourth of fifth Christmas that Weatherford had a large community Christmas Tree on the square by the old band stand. Santa Clause, himself, was to stop by with fruit and candy for all the children so my parents decided it would be a great experience for their little one to get to see ole Santa.
    It was indeed an experience, but not what they expected. Santa did arrive and he distributed the bags of goodies. He also passed out bigger and more special gifts such as dolls and bikes, to a few more fortunate children whose parents had wanted their children's gifts hand delivered by the big man himself.  This unfortunately, left the majority of children wondering why they were less favored and trying to understand their frustrated parents  explanations. My mother was angry. In fact, that usually calm woman, was furious, and I expect that the organizers of the event were made aware of her feelings. 
     After the Santa days Christmas became a time of Christmas Eve church programs which we walked to in the crispy winter air. Those were the type of nights that I still associate with Christmas Eve. 
     Christmas also brought the school holidays; there was still a tree to decorate, and gifts to buy. Mother did some special baking, and there was always chicken and dressing and my father's favorite cake with white icing and coconut...definitely not the candy decorated one of his childhood.
     In those days little girls played with their dolls for several years after Santa no longer delivered their toys, and the choosing of my doll was something my dad reserved for himself. He was probably remembering his sisters' pleasure in receiving a doll. The remainder of my gifts were chosen by Mother. Later, when I was in my teens, she told of the one Christmas she had only one dollar to spend and stretched it to make a pleasurable pile of of jacks, doll dishes, a jumping rope and a few other fun things. I never felt deprived, although I did yearn for a $2.98 Shirley Temple doll that never appeared under the tree.
     After I married and was no longer a part of their immediate household, I was flabbrtgasted to find that my dad was no longer making a big deal out of Christmas. He tried to explain to me that his enthusiasm no longer existed but I found it hard to accept. Mother's dedication to the spirit of Christmas continued even after the time came when I had to do her shopping.
     My husband and I and our growing family visited our parents each Christmas Day. The children were allowed to take their favorite gift to show and we took our gifts to our parents and chaos prevailed. Whether we brought joy with our arrival or relief with our leavtaking, is debatable. We did make fresh memories as the kids sat in their grandparents laps, listening to their PaPa's tales and brushing their Granny's hair... and the scent of a cedar tree and a wood fire lingers .