A Christmas To Remember

Another of one of those most memorable Christmas’  was in the early 1940s. I was eight, Tricia was nine and Nancy was four. Mother always made things extra special for us.  When it was time for Santa to come, we ran across the street to get Granddad and Grandmother Christian, it took them a while to get their coats on and check the stoves and turn off the lights. Santa Clause always left our surprise sitting there under the tree unwrapped. When we walked in it was dancing and squealing time. The first thing I saw was a tricycle he had left for Nancy. I didn’t see a new doll or anything else, just the wrapped packages that had been there all week. Mother was smiling and happy and Daddy was too. We started opening our gifts, the usual new pajamas, a book, a game, a card with a dollar in it, and soon every gift had been opened . Nancy was already on her big new tricycle so we were pushing her around the room. (I was ashamed to be feeling SO disappointed) Mother made some hot chocolate with marshmallows and we were stacking our gifts up in their own neat little piles. Then Daddy said ‘Wait, there is a card up in the tree!” He handed it to Tricia and she read it, “look in the front bedroom”.

(I had to color a B&W picture to show). The tires were a small problem, they had to be aired up every time we rode it, no paved streets back then. It didn’t stop us though. Once I decided to really fill  the tires so they would stay up longer, I went to Pete Bryant’s Station, rode home, went in the house and in a little while, heard “POP!”

We opened the door and there it was! A beautiful, wonderful, bright blue bicycle. Tricia and I cried and hugged each other and yelled and danced like never before. We just couldn’t believe we had a bicycle. I can feel the thrill as I write this. The next morning was cold and windy and neither of us knew how to ride, we both got pretty skinned up but by the end of the day, we had learned. The bicycle had belonged to our Aunt Maxine and been stored in the rafters of Granddad’s garage. Mother took it and completely refinished and restored it like new. New paint, saddle seat, handlebar grips and the tires had been patched and were holding air. Because of the war, bicycles were not something you could buy or new tires either. What a wonderful Christmas, and there have been many of them, but nothing ever compared to this one and the blue bicycle! Oh, we did have a most precious mother~

Christmas Fruit Cake

I realize that not  everyone likes fruit cakes. There are lots of jokes out there about them. My family is the exception, we love them. It may be because we had Grandmother Montgomery’s old recipe with real fruit and none of the bitter citron and dried stuff. It had canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, apple sauce, raisins and a lot of pecans. It was delicious and would stay fresh in the refrigerator until the last piece was gone. Tricia started making fruit cakes as Christmas gifts for all of us and soon she was the one we depended on. Dan especially liked them, he would cut a thin slice and have it with his coffee every afternoon. One year Tricia was going to spend Christmas with Nancy’s family and she brought my pretty package a week early.  It was heavy, of course I knew what it was and put it in the refrigerator to keep until Christmas. Then on Christmas Eve, I whipped some cream and folded in pineapple chunks to serve on the slices for everone. I opened my package and you can imagine my surprise when I found, instead of a fruit cake, a beautiful heavy cut crystal bowl~ nice and cold.

this is the large hand cut crystal serving bowl, not the Christmas fruit cake I was expecting. The cake would have been gone in a month, the bowl is forever~

 Another one of those Christmas surprises, and one that I have enjoyed all these years. It is a beautiful bowl and I always use it for fruit salads when I have company. I am hoping I get my fruit cake this year, I am hungry just writing about it.

Christmas Surprise

Christmas with our family is always full of surprises. I will be having Christmas stories on my blog off and on until Christmas. Today’s was from 18 years ago. We always go to Dan’s and Debbie’s house in San Angelo for Christmas. Debbie has a wonderful Christmas Eve super and she also makes a huge Christmas dinner the next day. There is a lot of fun going on up there.  That year, there was a big gift under the tree, all wrapped up with ribbons and bows, it was an odd shape.  I was in on the ‘secret’, Debbie told me it was a new headboard for Stacy’s bed and it was exciting because I knew she would be SO surprised. Opening gifts got going and finally everyone had opened their things, except for Stacy’s present. Then they brought it to ME!  I was puzzled I thought they had made a mistake. When I opened it, it wasn’t a headboard at all, instead it was this beautiful sign with MCWHORTER carved on it. 

it was four feet long and two inches thick and absolutely beauriful

Dan had made it out of special ordered redwood that had  no knots or flaws. He hand carved it with a hammer and a chisel, (not a router),  every letter was perfect. Then he carved the  beautiful pineapple for the top.

a pineapple is the sign of hospitality Dan carved it out of bass wood, it is thick and stands out from the sign itself. No way was I going to put this sign outdoors~

 I was overwhelmed. I never owned anything so nice, not ever~ There were also 4 X 4 redwood posts with hand carved gold leaf finials on top. It was painted in hunter green marine paint and the lettering was 18 ct gold leaf. They meant for me to put it in the orchard by the flag pole. I wouldn’t even consider that, it was too fine to be put out in the weather. I hung it over the eating  bar in the den and I enjoy it every day. I made another sign for the road, no pineapple on it but people can find my house.  ZZ carved a sign for their house and also made a CAMP ROCK sign for the river). We all had so much fun carving. This was my nicest surprise gift ever, it is a beautiful work of art. Proud Mama~