Thursday, December 4, 2008
Ghost of Christmas Trees Past
I grew up in the city where both sets of grandparents lived. So every year, we had a triple helping of Christmas. The 2 families that produced my parents were so different! I sometimes wonder how they found each other.
My dad was an only child, so family gatherings on that side were very small: 2 grandparents, 2 parents and my brother and me. Maw-Maw Nell and Paw-Paw Floyd were married on Christmas Eve and that's when we did Christmas at their house. My dad usually worked on Christmas Eve (unless it was on a Sunday) so we had to wait all day for him to get home. Then we'd pack up the presents for his folks and drive the few blocks to their house. (The picture below is probably from 1963, headed from the dining room down into the den.)
Once we got to Maw-Maw & Paw-Paw's house, the Christmas family meal always came first. The usual was turkey and dressing and all the southern things that go with a holiday meal. My grandmother always fixed spiced beets, too. My little brother liked to put the beet juice on his rice, turning it a nice hot pink. My grandad liked coconut cake, so my grandmother always fixed him one: 4 layers of sweet, white goodness. (I can't believe I found a picture of the cake!!! That's pound cake, sweet potato pie and ambrosia on the side board with it.)
After we were too miserable to eat another bite, we moved from the dining room into the living room. This was the only day of the year that I remember ever going into that living room. It was not furnished for comfort. The tree was in the corner, in all its shiny aluminum glory. I seem to remember only blue glass ornaments on that tree. (I found a picture from the 'blue' era, probably 1966. This is the same tree as in the first picture, just a different decorating scheme.)
My grandmother discovered a talent for making beaded ornaments, so I know she changed to a green tree at some point.
I have several of those beaded balls for my tree. They have to be hung from sturdy limbs, because they are quite heavy.
My girls and my brother's boys were old enough to remember 'Mo' Nell, as she asked to be called by them, before she passed away. I'm glad they all got to know her.