Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue #75

Memories of Christmas past

Everyone has their own special thoughts of Christmas's past. I'm sure most would include fond memories of gatherings with family and friends. Mine start with childhood on Horse Mountain.

I must have been six, or seven, years old and my sister would corral me in the dining room as my parents would load the presents beneath the tree. My sister would exhort me to listen carefully for Santa Claus as he flew to and from the house delivering his gifts for all the family. "Can't you hear him? There he goes, he just left the gifts--I think I can see him over the roof top." I was at the age where skepticism was rearing its inquisitive head and I wouldn't be fooled by a sister overacting her part. Nevertheless, it left that indelible mark of partial wonder in a gleeful child.

When we moved to the teeming metropolis of Florence, I remember anxiously waiting for Christmas eve when the family would get together and open all the presents. It meant an enjoyable few hours of playing with new toys ( a new train set was a dream come true) before everyone would leave for midnight mass. The following morning would mean more hours of fun setting lines of track and closely examining the old 4-6-2 engine and accompanying cars.

When we moved to the center of Northampton Christmas eve celebrations became more about family and a fine table of hors d'oeuvres for special friends of my parents. They sincerely enjoyed the company of people they had known since before they were married in 1928 and I enjoyed hearing them talk of old times and experiences long gone. There were still presents and good cheer to be had with midnight mass, once again, a staple of the celebration.

After Sue and I married, we would travel to my parents home for Christmas eve and meet up with my brother Ed, his wife Rose Marie as well as my sister Joy and her husband Bob. At one time or another several of my nieces and nephews would be there to lend a hand singing songs, or playing along with me on guitar. My mother especially loved to hear all of us singing and enjoying ourselves in this festive gathering.

One of the more memorable Christmas's was spent in the ICU at Cooley Dickinson hospital where I sang and played carols by my mother's bed side. She was gravely ill and this would be her last Christmas. The nurse turned on the intercom so everyone in the ward could join in and sing. Another was at the Linda Manor nursing home when I sang and played for a group of elderly patients (including my father) in a lounge. Many people added their voice to the merriment; my father's deep, clear baritone adding a special resonance to the occasion.

No matter what our memories might be, they all bring a special significance to a joyful, loving time never to be forgotten. I hope your memories are as wonderful and give you a feeling of peace and fondness for this special time.

So, in the spirit of the season, I say--Merry Christmas to all and to all--a good night!

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