For most of my adult life, my mailbox has been stuffed full of Christmas cards this time of year. It’s quite exciting to pull a stack of colorful envelopes out of the box and know that they contain messages from loved ones.
Whether it’s the cost of a first-class stamp, (49 cents), or the busyness of people’s lives, or simply the popularity of electronic greetings, people don’t send many Christmas cards these days. Mostly, it’s the Baby Boomers like me who can’t seem to give up this annual tradition.
This week, I received a Christmas card from a dear aunt and uncle who live in my hometown of Elkhart, Indiana. On the front of the card, was a picture that reminded me of my youth in the Midwest. The picture is a snow-covered wood with a lane in the center of the scene. On the inside my aunt had written: “Front of card kind of looks like the lane at Pearl’s. Though you might also be missing the snow!”
As I sat holding the card in my hand, I felt a wave of homesickness wash over me. The picture on the front did indeed remind me of the lane at my Grandma Pearl’s farm…the same lane that inspired the name and theme of this blog. And yes, I do miss the snow.
When I was a girl, we spent every Christmas Eve at my Grandmother’s house. The entire family would be there…grandparents, children, grandchildren…and the occasional neighbor or friend who needed a place to be at Christmas.
Grandma made her salty Christmas ham that she baked in apple juice and sometimes a roasted turkey too. The rest of the family would bring the side dishes and desserts. And oh, the desserts…pies and cakes and cookies and always, always, homemade banana pudding. Every family has its own holiday food traditions and banana pudding was ours.
After dinner, the adults would visit and do any last-minute preparations for the gift exchange, and the kids would escape to the snowy world outside. There’s something magical about being a kid out in a winter wonderland on Christmas Eve night.
I remember one particular Christmas Eve when I was around nine or ten years old. The air was crisp and cold and the dark sky was clear and full of more stars than it seemed a sky could hold. My cousins and I looked up in search of a Christmas Star like the one that led the shepherds and kings to the manger so long ago, and we also looked for any sign of Santa and his reindeer, even though we knew it was probably too early.
We laughed as we ran and made paths in the newly fallen snow, and pulled one another down the snowy white lane on our wood and metal sleds. We built a jolly snowman in grandma’s front yard complete with skinny stick arms, coal eyes and mouth, and a carrot nose from grandma’s refrigerator. One of my cousins gave up his red scarf for our fine fellow and we all stood back to admire our handiwork. After that, we surrounded “Frosty” with snow angels to keep him company in Grandma’s front yard.
Next, we headed to the barn to see if the animals truly did talk on Christmas Eve. While we stood in the quiet barn looking through the wood boards into the stalls, another cousin said that she had heard the animals only talked at midnight on Christmas Eve.
As we tried to figure out how we could get back to the barn at midnight to hear the animals talk, we heard our moms calling us inside for the gift exchange. We walked arm in arm back to the warm house and I remember thinking that I would remember the fun of this night forever and ever.
We all have our treasured Christmas memories. Here’s hoping you and your family will experience many special and memorable moments this holiday season! I also hope you receive lots of Christmas cards!
Merry Christmas with love from my family to yours!