Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Memories

More than any other, Christmas is the one holiday that fills my cup with memories. Perhaps, this is the same for you. I have very fond and vivid memories of Christmas as a child. The scent of a fir, strings of lights and the taste of sweets. A house warmed by family and a bounty of colour beneath the tree on Christmas morning.

There is one Christmas I will never forget. It was 32 years ago. And each December, the memories of that Christmas seem as fresh as if it was just last year.

It was Christmas Eve 1987, and with my parents and sister, I visited my grandfather in the hospital. Lawrence, or Larry, as he was known was 78. He wore plaid plants better than most, and he taught me to spell Mississippi. MI - double S - I - double S - I - double P – I. I can hear his voice, as I write these words.

When it was time to leave, I walked toward the door. Everyone else had left. I looked over at my grandfather, and with my eyes getting wet, I waved goodbye. There was an undeniable feeling that I was saying goodbye forever.

My parents took my sister and I home before driving back to the hospital in Duncan. Wanting to be at home with us on Christmas morning, my parents left the hospital late in the night. I only remember one gift that year. It was a rectangular box wrapped in colourful paper. I had left the gift from my grandparents unopened. After breakfast, my parents left and returned to the hospital.

It was afternoon when I finally decided to unwrap my last gift. Tears streamed down my face, as I gently pulled the paper apart at each end of the box. Inside was a cream and brown sweater. It held so much meaning at that moment.

With my parents still at the hospital, it was just my sister and I at home for Christmas dinner. My grandfather died that evening.

When I hear Maroon 5’s latest song, Memories, I think of Christmas and I think of my grandfather.  

Toast to the ones here today.
Toast to the ones that we lost on the way.
‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories
And the memories bring back, memories bring back you