Sunday, December 27, 2009

Unexpected Gifts


It's hard to believe that Christmas, once again, has come and gone.
I loved watching the children open their presents. My granddaughter said it best. "I didn't ask for all these presents, but I sure do like them."
I no longer look for the big present under the tree, because I know that the things that matter the most can't be wrapped. Here are a few of the gifts I received this year:

The unexpected phone call from an old friend in Pennsylvania. We have not seen each other since we were girls, but have kept in touch through the decades. We share stories about our families and traditions. Another thing we have in common: her mother was born in England and married an American GI and my mother was German and also married an American.


The unexpected present she sent me. She knows I love history, so she sent me a book and relaxation CD with snow scenes (since we are snow-challenged here in the South).


The beautiful church on Christmas Eve, a sanctuary of holiness to quietly celebrate the birth of Christ. 


The almost empty streets on Christmas Eve, when the stores have closed and families are together.


Christmas dinner at my sister's house. She and her husband have a large, extended family and it was a joy to see the huge pile of presents under the tree and every room in the house decorated for Christmas. And I have to say that I love her dressing!


Phone calls on Christmas Day and catching up with loved ones.


Visiting a longtime friend who always gives me too much at Christmas. I tell her this every year. And she never listens.


An evening at home during the holidays, when the house is quiet and I am snuggled under a blanket on the sofa, knowing that I don't have to go anywhere the next morning.


Browsing through my new cookbook and listening to my new CD that my daughters gave me. I can't wait to try some of the recipes from "The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook."


Watching a Hallmark movie, "The Christmas Choir". This was the only holiday movie I watched this year. What is the Christmas season without a warm and touching holiday story?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Old Year

The old man hobbled on his cane, unsure of his step; his hair was solid white, his face wrinkled with the passing of the year. He sighed heavily, with a twinge of sadness, but also glad that his tenure was almost over.
Only twelve months before he had stepped on the threshold of a New Year, ready to take command, full of hope and optimism. Twelve months before he had been a young man, believing in dreams. Now he felt like Lot, leaving behind the carnage of Sodom and Gomorrah, afraid to look back. It was small wonder that the people wanted him out and wanted someone younger and stronger to take the reins and lead them.
So his journey had come to an end and the last days of the year appeared before him. He would spend them with someone younger at the helm, spending his last days in quiet reflection. If he had touched a few lives, it was worth it, gray hair and all.
Once, he was going to change the world and soften the hearts of man. And he had been warned by his predecessors about how tough the job was. If there was one thing to be gained it was wisdom. The tired old man ushered in his successor. "Go, young man. God be with you." he boldly encouraged the New Year. And the New Year leaped forward to a new beginning, toward a joyful chorus of "Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men."

God Bless You!

(c) Anita M. Ashworth 2000


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Grandchildren

I love the innocence of childhood.


"First Snow"

We had our first snowfall yesterday. It wasn't much, but we'll take what we can get down here in the South.
When my 5-year old granddaughter woke up and saw the snow she was so excited and wanted to go outside immediately.  "Can I go outside, Mommy? I want to build a snowman." Carrie knew there wasn't enough to build a snowman, unless it was going to be a very dirty snowman, but she allowed her to go outside for a few minutes. Erika put on her coat and hat and happily went out in the chilly morning to get her taste of the first snow. A few minutes later she came back in, brushing off snow and  leaves from her coat. "I made three snow angels," she proudly exclaimed. She was happy.


"Talking in Class"

Erika got in trouble at school for the first time last Friday. Her Kindergarten teacher smiled when she told my daughter that she actually had to tell her to stop talking. My grandchild is naturally a shy and quiet child. She is one of the youngest in her class (her birthday is in early August) but she loves to go to school. Even when she was sick with the Swine flu, twice in the past six weeks, she was so upset because she had to miss school.

"Lunch Money"

When school started in August, my daughter would pack Erika's lunch daily, thinking that my granddaughter wouldn't eat the lunchroom food. Still, all the children in the classroom had to memorize their lunch number. They pre-pay all their meals and then just key in their number at the cash register. After a couple of weeks of taking her lunch, Erika told her mother, "Mommy, I think I want to get a lunch tray tomorrow. I think you need money for that." She had practiced memorizing her lunch number on a scribbled note pad and, and just like the bigger kids, went through the lunch line the next day.

"Santa Claus"

My daughter put up her Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. The children were so excited and put on their Christmas pajamas and posed in front of the tree, holding hands and smiling from ear to ear. Erika wanted to bake Christmas cookies (already) for Santa and use the red sprinkles because, after all, Santa wears red.

My daughter's father-in-law called one evening last week and asked to speak to the girls. He pretended to be Santa Claus. He asked them what they wanted for Christmas and Erika shyly answered, "I don't know what I want." Little Allie nodded her head and echoed the "Ho Ho Ho!" she heard on the phone. As soon as Daddy came home, they excitedly told him that they had  talked to Santa Claus on the phone! He gave my daughter a funny look. "Paw-Paw" she whispered.

Pictures

Growing up in my era we didn't take a lot of pictures. Of course, there were the school pictures, which I dreaded, and Mom rarely bought...