best wishes

happy holidays

Happy holidays, and thank you to all my readers for making time this past year to read my blog. Warmest wishes to all of you, for peace and joy and bright, healthy times.

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life, memories

sound your harks [original]

Every New Years Day, my mom took down the tree. Always, as if it was required. In a few days, though, I knew it would be Christmas again.

When I was little…four, five, six years old…we celebrated a second Christmas after the first one was done. My mother’s side of the family celebrated Christmas on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, and for a kid, that’s great. We didn’t get presents again, but we knew after we finished the December 25th Christmas, we’d get to go to my grandparents’ house on the 6th and celebrate again…cousins, aunts, uncles…eat, sing, play…food and fun!

Our memories from childhood are pictures, aren’t they?

I see me sitting with my cousins on the stairs off my grandparents’ kitchen. Laughing, making noise, keeping an eye on the grown-ups in the kitchen. I see my grandmother bustling around her big old stove and lots of people scattered around the kitchen table. I see the block of soft yellow butter my grandmother kept in a white metal cabinet…the silly details we hold onto.

Then there’s the boxy living room. Two couches. One against the wall with the TV. A second couch on the opposite wall. And a single small picture hanging over that couch, Jesus knocking on a door.

My five uncles are gathered at the couch by the TV. Four of them sitting, looking up to the uncle who is standing, facing them. He’s directing them, sort of like their choir director. They’re singing Christmas carols, harmonizing, and the rest of us are on the other side of the room, the audience. Now it’s time for Hark the Herald Angels Sing. They need to get in tune because the song starts strong, with a hark. The uncle who’s directing asks them to sound their harks, and they do. Hark…hark…hark…hark. Again, seriously. Hark…hark…hark…hark. That’s when they start giggling. Yes, grown men giggle. So my uncle repeats, a bit sternly, sound your harks! And they go for it, this time with bad, goofy bad, silly harks.

At that point, it all falls apart, and we laugh til our sides hurt.

Enjoy your day. Take a minute to laugh, and giggle, and for sure, sound your harks.