It was one of my most memorable Christmases. It was a Christmas that would be the last of many things. I can still remember
It was going to be a very exciting Christmas. Not only was one pair of grandparents coming, (In this case the Queen and King of cards) but also my cousin Jeremy was coming, too. He is an actor and he lives in Hollywood. Mason and Maia and I love him so much. He always has a trick up his sleeve. Oh, his girlfriend, Rochelle was coming too and well I'll just say she made me glad she was only coming for one day and Jeremy for three.
Anyway, my grandma Ruth and Pawpaw (rulers of card playing) had come a week before in their kangaroo motorhome. I always called it that because it has an orange kangaroo on the side. Grandma said it was a Bounder motorhome. Anyway, I loved that place more than ever. That place was even my secret hideout, my place of refuge. And I was a refugee. (Those were vocab words at school)
It was two days before Christmas. I opened the door to the motorhome. I wiped my feet on the green rug, watched the black automatic steps came out and stepped inside.
"Suppose you came to watch cartoons.'' Pawpaw said.
He was setting in his usual TV chair, watching his usual Golf, eating his usual peanuts, drinking his usual half-empty cup of scotch, out of his usual cup, with a pitcher of a golf hole on it and, half-reading, as usual, his normal books. He was also wearing his usual clothes- blue pants with his usual mostly white but a little blue- Today a white shirt with a blue collar.
"No," I said. "I actually came to play Gin Rummy with Grandma."
"Sorry honey, I'm cooking for Christmas dinner. Why don't you ask Pawpaw?" Grandma said.
I looked over at pawpaw.
Muting the TV, pawpaw got out the cards and grumpily said, "I guess I've got to play with you. What do you want to play?"
"Gin Rummy?" I suggested tentatively.
"No, to hard. Let's play blackjack 21. Do you know how to play that?"
I giggled. "Of course pawpaw, it's what we always play."
Grandma Ruth put away the Cranberry sauce she was making and started cutting some cheese.
"Want some cheese, honey?" she said.
"How 'bout you Mari? "
"Do you want some Sprite, too?"
As Grandma Ruth brought over the goodies I could smell her wonderful perfume. She, unlike pawpaw never wore the same outfit in two weeks, always smelled good and always looked pretty. She was a REAL queen of cards.
"Who's winning?" Grandma asked.
"Me, by 4."
"She always wins. Should of just stayed watchin' golf. " Pawpaw said half sarcastically.
Just then momma called me in for dinner.
The next day Jeremy and Rochelle came. It was Christmas Eve. After dinner we had a huge card game with everyone: Momma (on a team with my little brother Mason), Daddy (on a team with my little sister Maia), Me, Grandma Ruth, Pawpaw, Jeremy, Rochelle (who was leaving that night because her kids were at home), and Bonnie, my aunt and Jeremy's mom, who lived in our guest house. Midpoint of the game Jeremy was winning. Could it be possible?!? He had a lot of cards in his hands, but at least twice as many played as points. The heat was on. Could the Queen of cards actually lose? Noooo! I almost cheated to help Grandma, but decided against it. We were high competitors, and I was always trying to beat her. In the end, Grandma went out and won! We asked what she thought about Jeremy's big competition.
She said: "Tchh, (As she always does before stating her opinion. She did this by sucking in and raising one side of her mouth.) Well, can't lose can I? It would ruin my reputation."
Yes, yes, we all agreed.
Christmas morning was raucous. Also, pawpaw wore a burgundy sweater- the only time besides mommy's wedding he hadn't worn blue and white. I got my first doll that was not a baby doll. I stubbornly said it was porcelain, but it was really plastic. Everyone received many other delightful surprises. We ended our Christmas holiday with our customary dinner. It was delicious! We all clapped for Grandma and she took a bow.
The next day Jeremy left, and gifts were put away, many soon to be forgotten. But, the Christmas was not.
Never again did I believe in Christmas magic. Never again did Pawpaw celebrate Christmas with us- he died Friday, February 13th, two months later. Never again
was the motorhome parked in our driveway for Christmas. Never again did I spend
a Christmas in California, we move to Louisiana the next year. Never again did I receive my first doll. And, never again did I have a ball with
THE CYPRESS TREE
Swirls flow across the sky,
Streaking a blue painting
with white, elegant rolls.
A pale yellow looking down
On the pair of cypress trees,
Swaying with the wind.
The wisps of green,
Caress the light air,
Like a lovers kiss,
Gently, so gently.
The music is heard through
A soft whistling,
The trees lullaby.
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY
As Christmas Day approached my father and I gathered photographs of previous Christmases. There were pictures of my first Christmas. I was very tiny and laid curled up in my fathers arms with my mother standing next to us. They were both glowing with pride. I next came across a picture of a curly topped girl with the biggest smile. I laughed to myself as I remembered my Christmas from so many years ago.
A tall box towered over her as she gazed upon it. It was the largest package of them all. She then ran towards it and tore away at the multicolored wrapping paper thinking nothing more of it than an object keeping her away from a marvelous surprise. After she shred the paper into a million tiny pieces she stared at the box waiting for it to disappear and reveal her gift. Her father stepped up to the box and cut around it. He then pulled the box away displaying its contents. She then gasped with excitement and ran towards it. MY KITCHEN! MY KITCHEN!!!! She touched the cups, plates, and play food and ran her fingers over the fake coffee maker. She then grabbed her cooking pots and pans and began to cook her mother, father, Papa, & Mema breakfast.
As the memory of my Christmas from so many years ago disappeared back into my memory other ones appeared so quickly it frightened me.
I was around the age of five. It was the beginning of Christmas morning. I woke up and dragged everyone out of bed and stepped into my Memas living room. As I saw what was inside I screamed in amazement I was a very good girl this year Mema!!! I was a VERY good girl!!
She then replied, Not all of those presents are for you sweetheart.
Even though I was disappointed I continued on with my morning. My dream as a little girl was to be a ballerina. I received a ballet outfit with music from The Nutcracker.
I called everyone into my Memas kitchen and told everyone to sit down because I was going to dance for them. After twenty minutes we left to open the rest of the presents.
I was around the age of seven. My mom, dad and I flew in to spend Christmas with my grandma and grandpa. I helped my mom set out cookies and milk for Santa. I then stopped and looked around the room. Mom, wheres the chimney mom? Wheres the chimney. Santa cant come without a chimney!!!
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY
Imagine a new day dawning in mid December, and it summons a crisp morning five years ago. Consider the light of the sun creeping slowly into a childs room, filtering onto gold walls. The child twitches and opens her eyes, eyes that are filling with excitement as she remembers what day it is, or perhaps the gleam of expectation was always there, for this child was not apt to forget something as important as what was about to happen. This girl with fly away hair, in her long red johns is me. I am eight years old, and my birthday is two weeks away. Surprisingly, I am not thinking about my birthday right now, but about what fun I would have when my two cousins, Peter and Jane, came. They are fourteen years my senior, already in that far off place called college. I never thought about college, as I was still trying to get through elementary school. I rush to get all of my work done early, which is nothing short of torture. It does not help that the sky is an incredible forget-me-not blue ( I dont know what color a forget-me-not is, but I had read it so many times in books, I decided that I had a pretty good idea of the color), and a crisp breeze had started up. My mother becomes impatient at my carelessness and sends me outside to wait for the relatives, and she probably wants me to run off some of my energy, too. I havent been outside for long when the dull white car rolls into the driveway. My aunt and uncle who got out first, were of no concern to me, so I simply let them simper and pinch my cheeks. Finally I cant stand it anymore, and I run off to where Peter and Jane are. I throw my arms around the only part I can reach ( which is the legs) and I squeal at one of them to piggy back me across the yard. I drag them inside after a while, and immediately toss out orders on what games were going to play, and how this is done, and how do that. For two more years it was like that, me playing the part of the little child who loved to play and boss people around. But eventually, I became to old for that. I couldnt behave with that same sweetness that my cousins loved and enjoyed, and so as all of us got older and older, I spent more time with my books and the television, and my cousins spent more time with my parents, talking and laughing and drinking champagne. I never could recall that trustfulness or sweet disposition with which I had won so many hearts. Now I walk by myself outside, looking at the gray melancholy sky, and I can almost hear a childs innocent and joyful laughter rising with the wind.
THE ROAD OF LIFE
the brush by
the side of the road
and then the vast expanse
of prairie stretching until it reaches
the ghostly shape of the whispering hills.
A troubling hill raises the once uniform
As I drove down the road home all I could smell was sweet lemon grass, honeymint, and cucumber, the humidity was thick like perfume.