Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: He was the best dog on the planet.

Bonding

Bonding
The author of Mark's Work with Ellie Mae

Guess who's coming for dinner

Guess who's coming for dinner
Blue heron, sitting on the dock of our pond

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

BFF's forever

BFF's forever
Margie and Ellie Mae

Tomatoes and peppers are us.

Tomatoes and peppers are us.
Spicy salsa with roasted peppers, here at HappyDay Farms

Much love, John-Bryan

Much love, John-Bryan
Eric at 26 on the left, and John-Bryan in January of 1973.

Halloween fun

Halloween fun
SmallBoy and Dancing Girl

Our house

Our house
The snow season approaches...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Collection of Christmas Reflections # 11: We're Busy

This is the eleventh in a series of Christmas reflections.

We’re Busy
Christmas night was for sitting around the kitchen table and raking through the still glowing, smoldering embers of the day’s celebration, sifting and examining the events for any conclusions that could be drawn.  We would probably have been playing Missa Creole, the Argentinian Christmas tape that Noel had brought back with him from Dominguez.  And did we really go see How the West Was Won, in December of 1962?  I remember gathering at the kitchen table, perusing the newspaper with the drive-in movie section, and I remember going to see the movie.  I just cannot believe that that event took place in 1962, even before President Kennedy was murdered.  Is it possible that the movie was re-released at a later date?  Can someone help me out here?
I seemed so young in November of 1963, but so old going with the big boys to see a movie on Christmas night.  On the rare occasion when Clownie got to accompany the boys, I sat in the back by myself, while the three of them sat in the front.  I had to take a lot of abuse to hang with the big boys, but I paid my dues without complaint, because it was obviously a two-way street, and one which was quite busy.  I am sure that we went in the ’53 Plymouth, and that makes sense, because I used to ride on the floor of that car, right behind Pa, when we all piled in to go down and see Noel at Dominguez.  That would have been in 1964, so it all works out.
Christmas night was memorable because it was one time in our lives when we could get away with bagging an extra piece of dessert pie, or even coffee cake, except for the fact that we were still too stuffed from the Holiday dinner to be able to make our way over to where the deserts were kept to indulge.  Big sigh.
Christmas night was for piling into the Plymouth at some point and driving up to Pete Hill, overlooking our neck of the woods.  We went to see the lights, twinkling in the clear December night, but we also went because we could. It was about getting out of the house and establishing precedent.  That time period in the late sixties and early seventies, featured a number of expeditions up into the San Gabriel Mountains, or to the Palm Springs Tramway.  Any number of additional guests might have accompanied us on these expeditions, and it was all good.
When we were younger, bedtimes were extended in the general aura of benevolence that descended on the house on Christmas.  There may have been a Christmas special on TV, one of the variety shows or a Charlie Brown Christmas.  If not the television, then surely the stereo would have been playing Holiday fare.  We had new games to explore, decks of cards available if we wanted to play pinochle or poker, and there were always new books to read.
At some point hot apple cider was introduced onto the scene, and that became a Christmas night custom.  Looking around the living room on Fellowship Street on Christmas night , was a comfortable experience.  The immaculate house that had presented itself only twenty-four hours earlier, was a distant memory.  The paper chains ringing the living room and both dining areas, were the only vestige of organization that remained.  Though the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows had all been removed, either for recycling or burning, there was still plenty of evidence in sight, of what that wrapping paper and ribbons had been concealing.
From the jigsaw puzzle on the recently employed dining room table, to the “Go to the Head of the Class” board game alongside it, to the Color-by-Numbers painting, newly completed, and sitting out drying, the house reflected the day’s events.  Whether we gathered in one place to play cards, or retreated to our respective quiet spots to immerse ourselves in individual occupations, the feeling was one of great success, with the emotional letdown still too far away on the horizon to be an immediate factor.  
A year’s wait had proven well worth it, as we had indulged in all of the trappings of an enthusiastic and appropriate Holiday celebration.  For one day of the year, frivolity and fun took over the front seat, and blue collar values and a hard work ethic were set aside.  In fact we stored both in the trunk on Christmas Day and simply taped a big bow on it.  Come back tomorrow hard work, but leave us alone tonight.  We’re busy.

6 comments:

  1. I googled it - HTWWW had a 1962 release... didn't we take the Rambler when we went to Dominguez? The Plymouth would have been pretty darn crowded.....
    I love the last paragraph!

    ReplyDelete
  2. But would Mom have allowed sixteen-year-old Big E to drive us to the Vineland Drive-in Theatre only ten weeks after he would have gotten his license? We got the Rambler in 1964 after expecting Papa to come home with a van; I know because I got paid a quarter to vacuum out and wash that MF every Sunday. Never did I despise a vehicle more. Alas, the memory of sitting on the floorboards of the Plymouth is too vivid to set aside so easily. Besides, Miss Queen, you would never have been expected to endure such uncouth travel accommodations. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Touche!
    I remember the quarter for washing the Rambler - I got it for washing the green pick up truck!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The key is to remember that as much as a quarter seems lame, we could then choose seven from the following: Laura Scudders Potato Chips, Fritos Corn Chips or Cheetos; plain or peanut M&M's; Good & Plenties, Milk Duds, Sugar Babies; chocolate-covered raisins or nuts; Three Musketeers, Snickers, Sugar Daddies, Almond Joys or Red Hots. At three for a dime at Savon, we could parley that wash job into a guaranteed visit to the dentist. The amazing thing is that we were allowed to do it with minimal static.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ohh yeah....the old white Rambler.....I used to love to see that vehicle parked under the Eucalyptus Trees in Little America when the Good Fathers would release us postulants of the immaculate Heart of Mary to go visit for a few hours with our families. The Rambler meant there would be a great home cooked meal generally of baked beans, salads and cake....and of course the visit with the siblings and all that running around the fields and hillsides......and no, I never became a priest, but for at least ten minutes in my life I was on the hight road to heaven!

    ReplyDelete
  6. well, that's a first for me. That someone would actually welcome the sight of that white piecer. It just goes to show that the world can be viewed from an infinite number of perspectives, including one which allows the white Ranbler to be a welcome sight. Cosmic.

    ReplyDelete