Saturday, December 24, 2005

christmases past ...

At Christmas is when I really miss my family the most. What I miss, though, when I think about it, is the sense of family, really — not the individual members.

I can't, for the life of me, remember a bad Christmas growing up, when all of us were together. I know that makes me really lucky, especially after hearing some stories from other people about what it was like for them growing up.

We were never rich; hell, we weren't even well off. Sergeants in the Air Force don't make a ton of money, and my mom didn't work a full-time job until I was in junior high school. But you could never tell that on Christmas at my house. We always had gifts. True, we didn't get a shitload of presents or the really high-end stuff, but we got good, quality gifts. Usually, it was something small, a stocking full of goodies, and then a bigger present.

And my parents always made sure we kids had a few bucks to buy presents too, though we had to earn it via chores and what not.

I loved Christmas time as a kid. It meant family time together, putting up the tree and decorating it. It meant helping mom in the kitchen with the baking. It meant watching my dad turn those old computer punch cards into Christmas wreaths to be hung on the door.

In fact, a lot of my Christmas memories involve my dad. I remember how one year he didn't put the bikes together for me and my brother James ... but not because he got them late or was too lazy to do it before Christmas morning. It was so he could help us put them together.

I remember the few times when he actually went out and got my mom something without her knowing about it. He'd just pop into the bedroom: "Wrap this for your mother."

I remember all the wonderful Christmas brunches he would cook. Eggs how you liked them. Bacon. Sausage. His famous fried rice. French toast, pancakes or waffles — sometimes a couple of them.

I remember him helping his grandkids open presents, and watching him play with them, thinking that must have been how he was with us when I we were that age, his hazel eyes sparkling with laughter and delight.

I remember when I starting working full time and was able to get nice presents for everyone. My dad was always hard to shop for because his attitude was: "Don't waste your money on me." He was the ultimate giver. He always made sure everyone else was taken care of before he saw to his own needs.

I remember the year I got him a recliner, because I knew how much he liked them and because he hadn't had one in years.

I remember the year I got him the huge TV to replace the old, breaking down one. I hauled it into the living room and put it by the tree a good four days before Christmas. "This is your present, but you can't open it till Christmas," I told him. It stayed in the box till Christmas morning.

I remember the first Christmas after he died.

It's the first memory I have of a bad Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Pop. And thanks for all the great Christmases you made sure we had.

21 comments:

murphy said...

nice lines D.. nice lines

murphy said...

addition:

my dad was the exact same way.. this will be christmas #2 without him.. never could buy him anything, but he always made sure there was laughter at christmas.. hell he always made sure we were all laughing

give it up for Dad's!

Mr. W said...

that was a great post man. very moving. love the blog by the way.

Suze said...

Dzer, you have some lovely memories they will be with you forever.

Your dad would be proud of you.

Mike said...

Nice memories and nice tribute to your Dad. He sounds like he was one heckuva guy.

Merry Christmas buddy!

DZER said...

murph: thanks ... and yeah, kudos to the dads who rocked!

mr. w: thank you very much, and welcome to the Diatribe.

suze: thank you sweetie ... *smooches*

mike: he was ... thanks. merry christmas to you.

Bill Jones, Jr said...

Very nive post, Dzer. Very nice. Oh, and very cool Elvis shades in the pic.

Everything Nice said...

good verbose D.

Well, I never really had the full attention of my dad. I could never say these wonderful things about him.

so i suppose in a close paternal way I cannot relate to your emotion.

Instead I had a grandfather that did these things for me...
this will be the first christmas without my 'dad'.

holds nothing to yours im sure. but still.

AlwaysArousedGirl said...

Great post, Dzer. Have a wonderful holiday with the godsons.

sassinak said...

there's one thing i don't get... where's the rest of your family on christmas day? and if you answered this and i missed it i'm sorry but i suck :)

also? i'm glad you had such good christmasses dude. they help make you the great guy you are.

DZER said...

sabledawn: thanks man ... and I wore BCDs for way too many years as an Air Force NCO's kid LOL

naughty one: thanks ... sorry you can't relate

alwaysarousedgirl: thanks darlin' ... and I know I will :)

sass: my mom lives in Missouri ... one brother in London, the other in Kansas, a sister in Washington State ... one sister here, but we're not close. blessings to you this season.

Chrissie said...

Does she bring her own violins? Some minstrels follow her around perhaps? *L*

Anyway, as always sweetie... when you write about things that are important to you, that you feel... you make the reader feel it too. Personally no matter what your own childhood experience is... i think you write well enough to make a reader who actually cares, feel it too. *smooches* love you in a real I’ve known you almost a decade kind of love, you ARE my best friend.

DZER said...

aww ... thanks sweetie ... that's a very generous compliment.

and every time you bring up that last bit, I start to feel old ... my only consolation is that you're older! LMAO

*ducks AND runs, because I know you like to kick shins*

gigi said...

Here's to the Dads who get right!

Merry Christmas, Big Daddy!

Chrissie said...

lol yes i am older... but i'm also faster ;) i'd catch ya and kick ya so quick!

Chrissie said...

Why do i have Bill Murrays voice in my head telling me to, "Be Wudy the Wabbit! Wun you Waskly Wabbit!" ??

sassinak said...

thanks chrissie, now *I* have it too!

Lindsey said...

Awwww. Thanks for sharing!

Have a Merry Christmas.

DZER said...

gigi: hear, hear!

chrissie: hmm ... good point ... *wunning wike a wascawy wabbit*

LOL

sass: have the voices in your head give the voices in my head a call ;)

DZER said...

linny: thank you, darlin' ... merry christmas to you too :)

Chrissie said...

I was just looking at this again and realized I had forgotten to comment on the family pic... That is a stunning photo of you sweetheart... you had the NERVE to comment on my "talking heads" white shoulder padded jacket?! HELLO??! Lookit those glasses!! and the tough guy chin up stance?? LMAO... you have NOOoo room to comment on my 80's wardrobe!