|Banks County Opinions...||
DECEMBER 11, 2002
By: Rochelle Beckstine
Republican majority could mean limits on rights to sue
While out shopping over Thanksgiving weekend, I took a breather and sat down to check off hoped-for gifts on my lists.
I stopped and thought back on Christmases past, when things were simpler. I stepped into my way-back machine and thoughts carried me to a Christmas many, many years ago when I was five.
I remember the sweet scents of the pumpkin and apple pies and sugar cookies fresh out of the oven. The mouth-watering aroma of dark chocolate melting in a pot on the old gas range. Grams was busy, her apron painted with all the ingredients of the luscious treats wed soon be eating. They were stacked on cooling racks and trays covering the huge dining room table.
We couldnt sneak a bite of anything, no matter how sneaky we all were. That woman had radar or eyes in the back of her head. Security systems could have learned a thing or two from her
Dont touch those, theyre for tomorrow, shed say sternly from two rooms away.
Gramps and Grams kept Christmas well. Decorations would adorn every window, every archway and every door. Mistletoe would be hidden here and there for those dreaded sneak kiss-attacks.
We kids never understood the point of mistletoe. It would always mean the eventual attack from an aging great-aunt doused with the scents of a flower garden. And though wed find the stuff in advance so we knew where to avoid, in the fun of Christmas Day wed forget and get nailed with a lipsticked pucker.
It makes me smile now. Hmmm... Im a great-aunt. The mischief I could get into... Why should these youngsters miss out on all the fun?
My mind drifts again. Its Christmas morning and the first thing I did was race to the tree that Santa had brought while we were asleep. Not to see the presents to stick my face in the branches and inhale that wonderful fragrance.
I loved our tree. It was covered with ornaments that had been in the family for many years, passed down from generation to generation. Beautiful blown glass ornaments of every color. The soft glow of the large bulbs. The bubble lights busily gurgling. The graceful, delicate glass birds with the flowing tail feathers. It was always a work of art. Santa was an incredible artist I used to think. And how was able to use all our ornaments all those years without breaking any made me think he was a truly magical character. I did ponder, though, why he didnt come back to take it down. The childlike thought made me laugh at myself.
My next mission was to locate my ornament. When each of us were born, Gramps bought us a Christmas ornament. Mine was a beautiful deep red glass ball with the chorus of Silent Night written in white, glistening snow. Though I wasnt allowed to touch it until I was older, just looking at it gave me an indescribable feeling of being a part of the beauty of our tree.
But, something was wrong. I couldnt find my ornament. Gramps was sitting in his favorite chair reading the newspaper. I went over and grabbed his knee and asked where it was.
Well, he said as he lifted me up, lets see. It must be here somewhere.
Nestled in his arms we walked around the tree. We looked high and low no ornament.
Then I caught this gleam in his eyes.
Ok, Gramps, what did you do with my ornament, I asked firmly.
He sat down and as I sat in his lap, he reached down beside his chair. As he pulled his arm back up, I saw a red glimmer peaking from his hand.
Well, what have we here, he asked with a smile.
There, in his callused, craggy hand lay my ornament. I looked up at him, bewildered.
We looked at it closely. Nope, no cracks. It was intact and more beautiful than ever. I had never been so close to it. I wanted to touch it and my tiny fingers reached out, but hesitated.
He picked me up and we walked back to the tree. He asked me where I wanted to put it. I pointed to a spot mid-way up the tree. It was a small branch that seemed empty and waiting for something to hang there.
He opened his hand and told me to hang it up. I couldnt believe it. I was holding my own ornament.
It was a precious moment. I gently reached out with one hand to touch the bough and with the other hung it there on the tree. Right in front where I could see it from anywhere in the room.
I hugged him tightly. I felt so special, so loved.
Those few moments hanging that ornament with Gramps were far more precious to me than anything under the tree. The occasion meant even more to me just four months later when I lost him to a heart attack.
My beautiful Silent Night ornament still brings back that memory and that gift when I unwrap it to hang on my own tree.
The best presents are not those that you hold in your hand, but the ones you hold in your heart.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.
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