Just a thought… Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance – each beautiful, unique and too soon gone. [Deborah Whipp]
Ah, here we are, Christmas Eve EVE.
This is a time so blessed and cursed with memories and feelings that I like to go back to the happiest times. Of course, those are the days and nights around Christmas that are all about a little girl, her short, sweet lists (“a kitar – guitar, that is – and a flashlight”) and the craziness of opening presents for hours on that most special morning of the year.
This year, as every year has been since 2015, things are much different. There’s no tree, no lights – just a few candles that we would likely light anyway.
We have with us our friend Mike Cooper who is in a similar space of stillness and memories, and that’s just fine with us. We’ll laugh together. There will be quiet. Some tears. And then, because our friendship always buoys our heavy hearts and brings us back to the surface, more laughter.
This is a time of quietly and frequently travelling back to the Christmases when we were children, when the memories of breathless excitement of surprises and delights are etched on our hearts, in our minds. Of the family. The food. The music (and we always had so much in our family of performers) and the warmth.
The laughing and the fighting, the torn wrapping paper stuffed into garbage bags. Full glasses, empty glasses, Pillsbury Grands (which we’ll have this year with Mike in our home Christmas morning) and green paper-wrapped oranges. Stockings. Santa!
The trees – which went from artificial to, in our final two years with them, real and glorious. The tree to end them all, as this was, from 2014.
And then, there were the cards. Some came from afar, some from co-workers and even from our daughter: the ones that we’ve tucked away, the ones we wish we had.
And so I wrap up this Christmas season with not a bow, but a card: this is a poem that my co-worker and friend Jay Kennedy passed along to me years ago. I would share it on our “Christmas Eve at Erin’s” show and I’m so glad to have found it to bring this poem to you once again.
I do so with love. I wish you a heart filled with only the best memories. Put the others aside for another day and wrap yourself in what keeps you warm: love. Family. Comfort. Joy. And always, gratitude – as I have for you every day that we share here.
I wish you a Merry Christmas, a peaceful Holiday Season, a Happy Hanukkah and, again, only the best memories. I’ll be back with you with a new journal on Monday, January 6 (but definitely on Facebook just about daily – so join me there, click ‘thumbs up’ and I’ll invite you to join the page).
One more picture before I sign off from this extraordinary year: here I am with Dad (now 86), Molly (now 15) Colin (now 5) and Lauren (forever 24).
I have a list of folks I know, all written in a book
And every year when Christmas comes, I go and take a look.
And that is when I realize, these names are all a part
Not of the book they’re written in, but simply of my heart.
For each name stands for SOMEONE,
who has crossed my path some time
And in that meeting they’ve become the rhythm of my rhyme.
And while it sounds fantastic for me to make this claim
I really feel that I’m composed of each remembered name.
And while you may not be aware of any special link
Just meeting you has changed my life, a lot more than you think.
For once I’ve met somebody, that the years cannot erase
The memory of a pleasant word or a friendly face.
So never think my Christmas cards are just a mere routine
Of names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between.
For when I send a Christmas card that is addressed to you
It’s cuz you’re on a list of folks I’m indebted to.
For I am but the total of the many I have met
And you happen to be one I prefer not to forget.
And whether I have known you, for many days or few
In some way you have had a part in shaping things I do.
And every year when Christmas comes, I realize anew,
The best gifts life can offer, is meeting folks like you.
And may the spirit of Christmas, as long as it endures
Leave its richest blessing in the hearts of you and yours.