My memories of Christmas all run together – like one big happy dream. The family gathers for good food on the table, with gifts to share, then everyone leaves full of The Good Spirit hoping to make the moment last for another year.
Everything has a beginning, but not everything gets to start again. Today, my mother’s afghan is starting over – making its new beginning. Mom crocheted the afghan years before I was born. She kept it on the back of our living room sofa, always ready for use. There were never any, “Do Not Touch” signs in mom’s house …
I can still see the surgeon, dressed in his operating scrubs, as he told us about the steps he used to repair our child’s walnut sized heart. Thirteen years later, I asked my son if he would like to have the scar hidden with some type of cosmetic treatment. “No Dad! Chicks dig scars!” was his immediate reply. Thirty years later, I’m still inspired by how wise and enduring those words were. We all have scars. There’s a vast variety of them in our lives. Some are physical and some emotional. They can be self-inflicted, other-inflicted, or purely accidental.
Did you celebrate Father’s Day? We did. It was fun. I’m very fortunate to have been loved by a great dad, one who believed in me, and I’ve tried to do the same for my children and grandchildren. So, I’ve been wondering what it takes to be a father, other than, of course, the right plumbing and a partner.
It started in 2005 as my Christmas gift to our four grandchildren. I wrote each their own card announcing “Granddaddy Days.” They were to be special days when we would spend time together, one grandchild at a time, for the full day. The initial impressions that morning were not good, but quickly became a cherished tradition. Seeing the world through the eyes of my grandchildren is wonderful. I often think about where their curious minds will take them as they grow.
Family gatherings, especially around the holidays, can be packed with traditions. Some old, some newer, but it’s the traditions forgotten – then revived, that can be the most special. This past Christmas there was a dented silver cup on the table with slips of paper folded inside. It went overlooked among all the other offerings on our festive table until midway through the meal …
It was the 226th anniversary year of The Battle of McIntyre’s Farm, also known as the Battle of the Bees. Located seven miles out of Charlotte, this historic 1780 battle ended with 14 American Patriots routing 600 of British commander Lord Charles Cornwallis’ finest. I need to remember the powerful family stories. I need to remember how my relatives did #resist, fought with the colonists, built the underground railroad, worked in the mines, and were the Hornets running off Cornwallis.
Stories from the past can be great teaching tools for today. I’ve thought about the stories told in our old photographs – both what I see, and what I don’t see. Our family pictures show people wearing their best clothes and posing for the camera.
Grandpa had many adventures in his long life, but on that Saturday in 1953 he wasn’t sharing stories about any of that. Instead, we just exchanged a few simple words before he took my untested young grip with his weathered hand.
Summer is my favorite season. I have more cherished memories from these warm months than any other. Maybe I remember these times more fondly because summers seemed more relaxed, and my family spent more time together. The days were longer, for one thing, so we could go for ice cream after dinner. Whatever the reason – I love summer.