Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A Rockwell Christmas
Deep in our hearts I think we all long to experience that all American Christmas as portrayed by the works of Norman Rockwell. The small town idealistic setting, with snow on the ground and more gently falling from the sky. The horse pulling the open sleigh. The family all at home gathered around the tree and fireplace while carolers serenade from outside. In a lot of ways I lived those Christmases portrayed by Rockwell. For many years after we moved to upstate NJ, I would trek out into the woods to cut down our Christmas tree. Usually one a tad to big to fit comfortably in our small living room leaving my Dad the job of trimming them down to a manageable size. We had the bubble lights to put on the tree. A string passed down from my grandparents. Back in the "old" days, if one light went out, the whole string did. We had Perry Como on the record player. Not tape, not CD, but old vinyl as played on our RCA console stereo. I also made our own wreaths for our front door. I even sold one or two to neighbors. Of course I no longer have a crafty bone in my body. We had the annual Christmas plays at our elementary school. Good old Paradise Knoll. My first year living in Newfoundland (NJ not Canada), when I was in the first grade, before I made it to Paradise Knoll, I went to a three room school house. Now that's rather Rockwellian. I also sang at the early service at our church, which I'm sure would shock anyone who had the misfortune of hearing me sing now. We has these maroon colored robes with big white bows. It got us out of the first half of Sunday school. We had the best place to sleigh right outside our front door. I nice big hill that the town often left unplowed just so we could use it (there was another exit to get out to the main road so not plowing it wasn't a big deal). I still have the sleighs we used back in my youth stored in our basement. Unfortunately we don't get to use them here in Virginia much. Finally and the best part, I had a very loving family without which Christmas wouldn't mean nearly as much. This includes both sets of Grandparents. My dad's parents would spend Christmas eve and Christmas morning with us before returning to Bloomfield. The afternoon and Christmas dinner was spent with my Mom's dad and step-mother. By the time we made the drive home from High Crest Lake, we were worn out puppies and treasuring our Christmas memories.