CHRISTMASES

Editor’s Note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

I’ll be home for Christmas, You can count on me….” Strains of Bing Crosby crooning on my Indiana radio carried me back to the two-story brown house on Douglas Street and early childhood.

Decca album label image used without permission

Daddy sang the Crosby-famous song every December as he puttered in his basement workshop. His baritone floated up the stairs and through the registers to the second floor. Playing with a Muffy doll in my bedroom, I smiled hearing Daddy sing.

This December, I will be rather like the 1943 WWII soldiers Bing Crosby originally sang for. However, the song’s lyrics say, “… I am longing to be up North….” That will not apply to me. I am already “up North!” Instead, I am wanting to be in Gainesville, Florida with JK for Christmas.

December 19, the first day I am home, I will rest up from my 17-hour ride on the “Amish Bus” (Pioneer Trails). After that, I will catch up on holiday decorating. First, I will set up our 4-foot, pre-wired tree and hang it with red and white mementos. and tinsel wrap. Not much like trees from my childhood!

In the early 50s, Daddy struggled to put up a real tree. Its trunk stood in a metal stand holding water and its sweet pine fragrance filled the house! I smiled every day when I stepped in our door after school.

However, our real trees had a down-side. We decorated the pine with shiny glass balls, large colored lights of all colors and stringy icicles. Afterward, my arms were covered with red pricks from the pine needles. They itched!

I showed my dotted arms to Mother. She shook her head and marched me to the bathroom. Ivory soap in hand, she washed my arms. After patting them dry, she shook the Calamine lotion, and applied it. All better… mostly.

I was delighted in the early 1960s when Mother bought a different tree. It was made of aluminum. With it came a light and color wheel that turned changing the tree’s hue from red, to blue to green.

No more watering the real tree, or having to be so careful with fragile ornaments or even having to pick up the silver icicle mess. Best of all, it never made me itch!

JK loves having a Christmas tree .Ours is mostly no-fuss: 4- feet tall, artificial and green, it is also pre-wired with multicolored tiny lights. No checking all the light bulbs if one goes out! No tinsel mess; no itching!

Under our tree a few gifts will wait. (Nothing like the piles of wrapped boxes tied with curling ribbon for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and parents of years ago!) Some will be fancy wrapped but empty boxes, “for pretty!” But, back in May I tucked a few items away in my closet before I left.

Jim and our tree 2016

Jim and our tree 2016

However, compared to my growing up years, there’s a sad difference in our household. JK doesn’t sing “White Christmas!” On the positive side, he is interested in Christmas recipes and will help me prepare this and that.

When I was growing up in the ‘50s, Mother made sugar thins, butter cookies, snowballs and date bars. She filled tins of cookies to carry to neighbors. I don’t go quite that far. I do carry a Christmas Plate of several items to two of our closest neighbors. One thing I usually make cranberry bread. It’s hard to ruin.

This year, JK and I have discussed making “Pepper Nuts” (Pfeffernusse.) I ran across the recipe in Indiana. The tiny, spicy (cinnamon, anise, ginger, allspice…) cookies originated in Russia with emigrants headed east to escape persecution. On their l-o-n-g journey, the little hard cookies would not spoil and soothe complaining children! Maybe they’re like sweet “hard tack.”

What gifts do I want this season of giving? Peace, an end to senseless killings and movement toward reunification of our country’s people. In God’s time.

May it be so!

Frances Fritzie

Frances Fritzie

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