If you can't say something nice, at least make it funny!

Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Tuesday, December 21

Holiday Memories

As you may or may not know, I moved around a lot as a child. I call Franklin my hometown because it is where I graduated high school, where I learned to drive, where I marched in band and attended football and basketball games. It is where my parents stayed, and where I met my husband, then met him again. But I attended school in 4 different cities before I finished, and the truth is that I only really lived in Franklin maybe 6 years out of my entire life. I lived in Nashville almost 20 and really consider it to be home.

During my elementary years we lived in a suburb of Nashville that is now a booming metropolis. However, back then in the 70's it was mostly rural and filled with farmers and country music stars. Seriously, Little Jimmy Dickens lived down the road from us, Marty Robbins house was visible from our front yard, and every time we went to Kroger Jeannie C. Riley was there. Tom T. Hall's property adjoined ours and we went to his house on Halloween for trick-or-treats. If you don't know who any of these people are, sorry. But at the time they were a big effing deal, OK?

We lived in a little stone farmhouse that sat way back off the road. We had chickens, horses, cats, and dogs. We had 2 huge gardens in the back that mom took care of and neighbors who let us run around on their property for horse rides up through the mountains. We had a ridge above our house where we'd go to pick blackberries in the summer and mom would make cobblers and jelly. It was pretty great.

Now, I have precious few childhood memories, for whatever reason. My brother can remember every moment of every day with an alarming clarity. But me, not so much. So I just have to take his word for things. People mention things that happened when we were little and I just have to ask what the heck they are talking about because I don't remember anything but short flashes, excerpts of my life or really stellar events.

One of the few really strong memories is of a Christmas we spent in the stone house in Williamson County. It was the most charming little house, and I have fond memories of living there. However, there were only two bedrooms downstairs and a big, open upstairs. Mom and dad gave me the upstairs bedroom as I was the oldest. My brother was still small when we moved there, maybe 2 or 3, so he couldn't navigate the steps. Anyway, I hated it. I was such a scaredy cat it wasn't funny, still am. In retrospect, it was a great room, really cool. It was huge, and had tons of built in bookshelves under the eaves. I had frilly blue curtains and matching twin beds that sat on opposite sides of the room. It was one of those rooms where the stairs come up in the middle of the room, making it sort of a circular layout. But it was huge. But the reason I was so scared?

The attic door was at the far end of the room on the front of the house. I was terrified of the attic and whatever monsters might be living in there. I didn't like being up there during the day much, but at night? It was terrifying. I actually remember many nights sleeping downstairs on the pullout sofa in the living room. So this particular year, I got to sleep in my brother's room with him, as I probably did most of the Christmases in that house. I just don't remember. We were a bit older, I would say I was 8 or so which would make him 5 maybe. So we were both totally wound up for Christmas. However, my brother? He was ULTRA hyper on any given day, much less Christmas Eve. I would imagine these days he would have been diagnosed and put on some type of medication for some condition. But then, you just had to let him run down.

So he was aggravating the tar out of me. I was trying to sleep, really. Always the practical one, I knew the sooner I fell asleep the sooner I would get to see my presents. I was at the age where I was on the verge about the whole Santa thing, just ready for a reason to disbelieve it. However, he always came through for us so I held on to the thought. Anyway, my brother kept kicking me, or pinching me or talking to me about the time I fell asleep. "Get your foot on your side" or "you're hogging the covers" I would imagine. We never got along well at all and were always fussing like that. So mom had to come in and yell at us at least three times that it was time to get to sleep.

I don't remember word for word, so let me just say the next few minutes went something like this: "Do you hear that?" I asked him. "What is it? It sounds like someone walking around!" he said. "Who would be walking around? We are all in bed." Then we got scared. Then more "clomp, clomp, clomping" above us. "It's reindeer!" I suggested. "It is they are up on the roof!!" he agreed, excitedly. "Oh my gosh!" we both said, astonished that we'd really stayed up long enough to witness the arrival of Santa.

"I am going to look." Said my brother, throwing back the covers. "NO!" I said. "If he sees you we won't get anything. Don't you know that? Get back in bed!!!" I exclaimed in the loudest whisper I could muster. Surprisingly he did as I said, probably the only time he ever did. Truthfully I think he was a little bit scared himself. "clomp, clomp, clomp" "They are up there, there are reindeer on the roof." "I want to look out the window!" "NO!" "How do you think they do it? I want to see!" "NO!" "But, I can see them if I look!" "No, do you want to get presents?" "yes" "Then, NO! Don't do it!"

On and on it went until the noises stopped. After all this, we were so wound up. I know we slept some, but at one point, well before the sun came up, I remember slipping out into the hallway and peeking around the corner into the living room where the tree was. We were both afraid to cross the threshold into the room, so we just stood there, feet in the hallway, heads poking through the doorway, squinting and trying to figure out what all the big, shadowy shapes under the tree might contain. We finally crawled back into bed, feet frozen, and discussed what we might have waiting for us. We also discussed Santa, the reindeer, and how we couldn't wait to tell mom and dad in the morning that we HEARD the reindeer on the roof.

Of course I now realize that the scary attic was situated directly above my brother's room and the living room. And I know that since I was terrified of the attic it was the perfect hiding place. But that night cemented a belief in Santa that I held on to way longer than I should have. (yeah. other kids made fun of me.)

But I will say, even as an adult, I still believe in Santa. If you don't, shame on you. Santa is a spirit that is real and has the chance to inhabit each of us, even for a moment each year. If we could all just focus on the spirit of giving, not getting. On helping others without expecting a return. On spending time on people who don't have anyone.

If you want to witness this spirit in action, check out what fellow blogger, The Bloggess is doing. It warms even my frosty heart. This? Well, I think the word miracle is one of the most ridiculously overused words in our society today. But what she's done over there? It is simply. Amazing.

1 comment:

  1. What makes Bloggess' act so remarkable is how organic it is. It is the least organized, well oil machine I have ever seen, at least over the innerwebz.

    Our church (i know, don;t freak out) has been having the kids make shoeboxes full of small things - soap, toothbrushes, toohpaste, dollar store toys - balls, ribbons, etc. and other necessities to send to third world areas. Included is a sheet of paper with each child name, personal info and whatever message they want to send. All three of my girls made one. They have been atlking to ecah other about what type of child and what part of the world got their box and what they think. The boxes are supposed to be delivere this week. Watching my kids think about something OTHER than what they are getting for Christmas has been a nice relief.

    Your brother sounds like me. I'm laughing about that.