It’s snowing up a storm here on the mountain—pun intended—our eighth storm of the season, and from the amount of accumulation, it’s sure to be a White Christmas. Unless, of course, one of our famous Wyoming windstorms comes up and blows all this white stuff to Nebraska.
Having grown up in Los Angeles, where it only snowed once duirng my formative years, it doesn’t bring back memories of Christmas past, although I do remember scooping up an inch or two of snow with my bunny fur mittens (and ruining them) while in junior high. The storm caused multiple car accidents in southern California that day although the kids had the snow well scooped up and thrown at each other before the noon lunch break. We also made snowballs to stash in the freezer for a hot summer day.
I didn’t grow up in an affluent family but Santa always brought us several nice gifts—not great by today’s standards—by enough to get excited about. On Christmas Eve, Dad would read us the poem, “The Night Before Christmas” and I can still almost recite it entirely by heart. I later read the poem to my own five children.Mom always prepared a gigantic turkey with a large table full of festive food and the best homemade dinner rolls I’ve ever eaten. No wonder we always had a houseful of relatives and friends for dinner. And since I was usually the only girl present, it was my job to clear the table and wash the dishes. That was during the dark ages— before dishwashers—and the other kids always managed to disappear. With my hands in the soaps suds, I dreamed up stories that I later wrote down, including my first novel when I was nine. (Thank goodness it was never published.)
My four younger brothers and I were close in age and I was a tomboy because I was the only girl in the neighborhood, with the exception of my friend, Diane, who lived half a mile away on another hill, and is still my friend to this day. I remember sitting at her player piano and pretending to play when we were five or six years old. Now I can’t remember what I had for lunch. But the Christmas holidays bring back fond memories of family togetherness and the best food I’ve ever eaten.
When all this frenetic shopping and gift wrapping is over and everyone’s stuffed with Christmas feasts, I hope we’ll all take a moment to remember why we celebrate CHRISTmas.