Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

My mother always burned a pair of tall bayberry candles on Christmas
Eve. They smelled delicious. They were always real bayberry. Artificial scents are not the same, no matter what the commercials tell us. She would never blow out these candles. I don't remember Mother being superstitious about anything else, but she said it was unlucky not to let them burn down to nothing on Christmas Eve. If they hadn't burned all the way down by the time we went to bed, she would put them into the bath tub so they would finish safely.

After my brother was married, we went to his house on Christmas Eve. (The candles went into the tub while we were gone.) That means we spent most of the night just waiting. No one in the world moved slower than my brother and sister-in-law. And they spent a great de
al of time discussing what their next move might be. First, we waited for him to pick us up. He was always late for everything, and he would tell us the time he would come for us, but he was never, never there anywhere near that time. Mother, who was compulsively early for everything, would sit there with her coat and purse next to her and keep asking where he could be, and did I think something had happened to him? I knew my brother, and just laughed it off. He would finally arrive, and drive us slowly to his house.

When we finally arrived, we waited some more. Nothing was ever ready for company. They never were even quite finished trimming the tree. Unlike our "gingerbread" multi-colored tree, theirs always had a color theme, which I found depressing. Every big, round ball was precisely placed, uniform in color and size. Their tinsel was placed - never thrown - onto each branch, slowly and carefully. At some point, growing impatient, I would ask to be allowed to help with the tinsel, and I would toss it, just to annoy them. They would say nothing, but followed my efforts by correctly smoothing it and hanging it straight from each needle. (My brother was no fun, His wife was just as bad. Any time that ice cream was served in their house, it was half melted by the time
you got it because they moved so slowly.)

The first time I ever over-indulged in alcohol was at my brother's house on a Christmas Eve. I'm not much of a drinker. It doesn't take much to make me tipsey. I only remember one other time when I had way too much. Normally, one drink is my limit. I think I was just bored to death that Christmas Eve and kept sipping wine. I don't even like wine very much. I was sitting on the floor that evening, all the ch
airs being filled. It wasn't until I stood up to go home that I learned I'd had too much to drink. No harm done. He drove us home, and I fell into bed. My stocking had been hung much earlier, while we were waiting for him to pick us up.

Christmas morning was much more fun. After church my sister and her husband would come to spend the day, and friends would drop in. And usually, there would be snow on the ground, often deep snow. Ah yes, those were the days - when I actually enjoyed snow!


Meantime, back in CA, my daughter is getting carried away with this flashback to other Christmases thing. She is offering not one, but three (or was it four?) memories of past years with Isaac. Letters to Santa and all. I LOVE IT !

Looks like the chickens like sledding in the snow.


Marla said...

Dropping by to wish you a Merry Christmas. Have a great day!

Daryl said...

Your brother and my BFF ... two people one should never take at their word about time ... and still what wonderful memories, Bobbie, I am enjoying reliving them with you.


Photo Cache said...

Just dropped by to greet you and yours the happiest Christmas ever.

Shelly said...

Just popping by to say Merry Christmas Bobbie!
I snickered while I read your post about those dawdling relatives of yours...guess we all have 'em.

bowledover said...

Seasons Greetings to you Bobbie and all your family.

Lavender and Vanilla Friends of the Gardens said...

Bobbie, what a great Christmas story. I guess in hindsight it was rather funny. Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Oh - I'd forgotten about bayberry candles and how good they smell! I don't recall seeing them in a long time - I'll bet I can find some online! Wonderful memories you shared here. Merry Merry!!

Unknown said...

I stopped by Fetal Positions and chuckled at Isaac's sleigh and reindeer. What a cute kid!

I like how you rebelled against the orderly Christmas tree tinsel by throwing it on! :-D

I wish you all wonderful good things this season, Bobbie. I'm so glad that I know you in this blog world.

Love & Peace,

Anonymous said...

Bobbie ~ Enjoyed sharing those Christmas memories of yours... patience was quite a virtue, as you found out. I'm not much of a drinker, either... but, under those circumstances, might have been tempted.

Your daughter's blog is delightful. Loved the Christmas list and Isaac's creative sleigh and "pet" care!

Hope your Christmas was happy!/Deb