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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas (Eve)!

Below is an excerpt from a longer essay entiled "The Last Supper."   It says a lot about how I have and continue to celebrate Christmas Eve.  For me it is a day of merriment as well as melancholy!

"...I do remember some of the suppers, especially those on Christmas Eve.  That was my daddy’s birthday, December 24, when we always had, and continue to have, our family Christmas gathering.  Some of my earliest memories are of the wider Walton family; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, gathering at the old home place.   The air was filled with the smell of oyster stew, country fried steak, turkey and cedar boughs; accompanied by loud conversation and laughter.  Presents were piled higher than me under a fresh cut cedar tree that reached the ceiling.  I remember being confused because everybody called my daddy by the family nickname that I heard once a year, “Bub.”  It surprised me that he responded to it so naturally.  Looking back on it now, I think part of the genuine comfort I felt was in seeing him be a brother rather than a daddy or husband.  He loved Christmas Eve.  I did too.

When my Papa Walton died and my sisters, brother and I grew older, we began to have our Christmas Eve / Birthday celebration at our house with just our immediate family.  Some of it was the same.  There was still oyster stew, country fried steak, and turkey.  The presents weren’t piled quite as high, or else I had grown taller.  However, there was nobody there to call him “Bub.”  I imagine he missed that.

After that last supper, Christmas Eve suppers were never the same.  We even gave up on the oyster stew and country fried steak.  It’s turkey, ham or other things now.  There are still a lot of presents, loud conversation, and laughter.  One thing we can always count on is that somewhere during the evening, someone always manages to ask, “How old would Daddy have been this year?”   The profound sadness in the question is that now he would now be so old that he probably would have died by now anyway."

However, whenever, and with whomever you celebrate Christmas or Christmas Eve, my hope for you it that your celebration is filled with joy.    

Merry Christmas (Eve)!

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