Christmas yields the best memories

By Lnn Moncus

As we approach this most beautiful season of the year, many of us who are over-the-hill do much reflecting as we recall some of our favorite times. We often return to thoughts of our youth and the great times we had with our families. As you read along, recall the holidays you most enjoyed and begin to think how you can make the coming one a very happy one as well.

You can already guess that my favorite ones were spent in those canyons of home because our happiest years were spent there. Perhaps, I should rephrase that to read that my happiest ones were spent there because I certainly can’t speak for the rest of the family who had their own ideas of favorite places and times.

I guess I preferred those years because they were so precious to a child who was just discovering the world and who began that discovery in such an idyllic location.

We might begin our celebration by attending the Christmas program at the school. We would hear the story of Christmas and would sing carols before receiving gifts and visiting with friends and neighbors. While hearing that story in that isolated location, few of us had any trouble imagining the manger scene, the beautiful star of the East, the silence and beauty of that evening so very long ago. To us, that story could have happened the Christmas before because we hadn’t begun to understand the passage of hundreds of years. Our imaginations were very much alive and were seeing what the Wisemen and angels saw so long before.

We enjoyed the light of coal oil lamps and the heat of a wood stove as we gathered for a wonderful evening on the plains. We didn’t need a lot of glitter in order to appreciate the season and to imagine it as it was described so clearly in the Bible. We had but to go outside to see the very bright stars and to imagine that one of them would be guiding us home.

Our music might not have been what we hear today as so many unhappy looking singers gyrate through the Christmas carols, but we thought we were hearing beautiful, clear voices accompanied by one of the local ladies on the piano.

As we started home, we felt the chill but weren’t in the least upset because we knew we would be warm once we landed in our homes and got the fires going again. As usual, we had to walk down the hill to our little home deep in the canyon because we never knew whether or not the car would start or whether or not the road would be passable by morning. Because I was good at playing the part of a sleepy head, Dad would take pity on me and carry me down that very steep trail. We’d all enter the house, light the lamps, start the fire, and sit for a little while before going to bed.

We’d be looking at the modest collection of gifts under that little pinon tree and would know we’d have something in our stocking above the fireplace the next morning.

Christmas Day began with the opening of those gifts once the fires were going for the day. We’d admire each small item received by each family member and at least one of us felt very wealthy and happy even when sitting on that dirt floor in that half dugout.

Of course, I felt even wealthier and happier in a few short years when we had wooden floors and an addition to the dugout. I can still see how bright that little living room seemed in the lamp light while Mother would read to us.

Those were “the best of times” for this woman from lma, but I have had many wonderful times since and will certainly have one more Tuesday as Aggie and I greet Christmas Day.

We both wish you a most merry and blessed Christmas!