The Christmas

Don’t worry, this isn’t pro or con. I’m sure we all get enough of that.

It was the days of innocence, thinking that it would never end. Every year, traveling to South Carolina from the Pittsburgh area.

One of those times in life where the anticipation matched the occasion. It was about the love of grandparents and cousins. Seeing the red dirt as something special, the warmer weather and an immense feeling of freedom always ensued. Even the inevitable back and forth that I had to hear from my parents on the way back home couldn’t spoil it for me.

I don’t even think it was the presents that made it so special. My grandmother saved all year for the grands. She would give all the kids 25.00. One year I spent all of mine on Elton John records, not realizing that you don’t really need the greatest hits if you’re buying all of them. That was a major deal because my folks expressed much chagrin over the unwise use of the small fortune. That turned into quite the episode between my parents and who we called, Mama and Papa. Nothing was ever right out in the open. The tension and foolish friction was always more along the lines of ulcer generation and heart attacks.

My grandfather was a huge fan of Scope and alcohol and that smell was the first thing to greet me at the top of the stairs. I didn’t exactly understand what it was about, it was just part of the magic smells mixed with the pine tree and lingering aroma of the best food that I have ever had. He also would usually give the kids a big tablet and pencils. I think he would give some gifts early because I distinctly remember the look on his face one year when he handed me a new flashlight. I guess it must be the unconditional love that a child usually experiences from grandparents that makes them so special. I could even smoke around them when my parents weren’t around, which is not the best example but the first one that comes to mind. I still have the pewter ash tray that I salvaged when they were no more.

I hope children today still have some of that magic. It looks like they are forced into adulthood so soon. Another special memory was how I loved the Wizard of Oz and had my father read to me some of the many variations of the story. Thinking back it was a special moment in time, more than anything. It will forever be in my heart and to borrow someone else’s lyric, a memory that makes me a wealthy soul.

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