WHAT I MISS MOST
* The Pink Pig at Rich’s downtown and the lighting of The Great Tree. The carolers sang, and they lit each floor of those walkways above the road until they finally lit the big tree! Awesome!
* I miss my Paw Paw and his love for the season. He made candies and cookies that are still talked about by all who knew him.
* Santa’s boot prints all over our living room. I knew it had to be Santa because Mama wouldn’t have allowed Daddy to track it from our fireplace all over the rugs.
* Big choirs and organs performing my favorite Christmas hymns in church on Christmas Eve.
* Driving around in our pajamas in the old station wagon looking at the lights in the ritzy part of town.
* The smell of Cashmere Bouquet soap and lotion mixed with Tube Rose snuff on my aunts and grandma, and Old Spice combined with Prince Albert on the men.
* Uncle William pulling up in a dump truck from his landscaping business with toys for his 10 boisterous kids and yelling, “OK kids, come out here and get your dang Santy Claus!”
* I miss the family members that are now in heaven waiting to see if I make the cut!
* Silver tinsel in those little packs you could toss on the tree by the handful. And the really bright light that accompanied the home movie camera. Then watching the home movies on a reel-to-reel projector.
* Midnight mass, eggnog, and coming home to play with the chemistry set.
* Discovering Uncle Charlie searching the bushes for his “secret” bottle.
* I miss decorating the tree as a family and how all of the problems, differences, and stresses vanished for that night.
* The metal doll houses that my dad had to put together because Santa didn’t have time.
* Belonging to a family with three children, where having only one present under the tree wasn’t considered a bad Christmas at all!
* Those ornaments that looked like they had water in them and bubbled when you plugged them in.
* The smell of a new Barbie doll!
* Eating at the kids’ table in Me-Maw’s house on Christmas Eve. Everyone was dressed up for this event. No slouches.
* I miss gathering with all the family and the laughter and goodwill we all shared. Having a good meal and opening presents and counting our blessings. Wonderful memories.
* Stockings filled with fruit, nuts, and ribbon candy.
* I miss being young!
* I miss my mother.
* My grandmother would turn on the record player and teach us all how to do dances like the Charleston and the jitterbug while Christmas music was playing.
* Going caroling with the youth choir.
* Claxton fruitcake. Also doubled as a door stop.
* Our aluminum tree with a revolving color wheel!
* My Chatty Cathy doll—the only thing that ever talked more than me! I pulled that string until it finally broke.
* The smell of a fresh cedar tree, the only type available in many small Southern towns in the 40s and 50s, and the delicious smell of its branches, cut and burned by my father in our fireplace on Christmas night.
* Finding oranges in my stocking. King Leo peppermint sticks in the royal blue round tin.
* The careful removal and folding of wrapping paper, to be used again next Christmas and the next by frugal mothers.
* I miss the times that were simpler.
The most common sentiment from readers was the yearning for being with loved ones no longer with them. This Christmas let’s honor those who are gone by cleaving to those still with us. If we do that, we will keep Christmas well.
All is calm.
All is bright.
AND A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO US ALL!
Send your questions to notyourgrannys
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Visit her at thecrackerqueen.com.