Gathering of the Clan

A Gathering of Fly Fishermen
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 Post subject: Merry Christmas all
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:47 am
Posts: 492
Here's my Christmas column that will be in next week's paper:

As I write this, Christmas is still three days away, but I feel like its here already. I've felt that way for two days now.
You see, ever since I quit waiting for Santa and became Santa Christmas had lost a lot of its charm. That was particularly so when my best idea yet for Christmas wasn't successful.

My best idea involved Jesus' observation that “It is more blessed to give than receive.” Well, wanting my friends and relatives to be as blessed as possible, I sent out word that I'd volunteer to the the designated receiver and they could all be givers and reap the consequent blessings, which would be my gift to them. Sounded win-win to me but none of them took me up on the offer.

With my idea having fallen through, I was obliged to keep sending presents every year and some years I'd be so nearly broke that it actually was worrisome. Between that, not being an adept package wrapper and usually worried that I'd mailed gifts in time to get where they were going by Christmas, I'd wind up in a funk. The year that I literally had nobody to be with on Christmas was particularly bad.

This year, as Christmas approached, we had that early snow and I got a card from Alan and Cathy Hooker in Heathsville. It had a picture of a family bringing home a Christmas tree on a sled drawn by two horses. The card made me smile. That's how my momma and my sisters and I used to get our tree when I was a kid.

Momma would hitch up one of the ponies to the wicker pony cart, “Imp” or “Man Dear”, we'd all bundle up and off we'd go onto one of the nearby farms to find a tree. The tree had to be cedar because a cedar had once saved my mother's parents from sliding over a cliff after a Christmas Eve party. My sisters and I would argue about which tree to cut down and, once it was decided, cut the tree, load it into the pony cart and take it home. Trimming the tree would follow but getting it was the big event. The card reminded me of that and, for a change, I sort of got into the Christmas spirit.

The spirit just grew stronger as I was able to buy gifts without being strained and got all the ones needing delivery mailed in plenty of time and the ones I'm delivering in person wrapped and ready to go. The absence of stress allowed the Christmas spirit to blossom. Then, to top it off, it turned out I'll be with two of my children and three of my grandchildren on Christmas Day. That's more family than I've been around since my father's parents died and we quit having the huge ‑ a crowd of little first cousins and all three of my grandparent's children, assorted more distant cousins and Christmas Day drop-in visitors ‑ Christmas Dinners at the home place at Hague.

I did indeed get into the spirit, mainly because this year I didn't feel like the fourth wise man for a change. You know. The fourth wise man. The one who bore his gift from afar with the other three but his gift was a fruit cake and they threw him out of the stable.


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas all
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:14 pm
Posts: 448
Nice thoughts Squire Newton....Christmas never again will equal the brief segment of boyhood anticipation built by my Grandpa and Grandma Wild. I could even hear the reindeer's sound as they gently landed on our house in Lindenhurst.
It was a magical time and though it only survived a few years, I can still, nearly 75 years later, grasp the anticipation I felt back then...

Merry Christmas to all as you celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

Buxtehude, 83 years young and counting.


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas all
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:43 pm
Posts: 76
My sister and I have often spoken about how our favorite Christmases as adults were when her family and mine would somehow squeeze into staying at my parents home in the small upstate NY village where I grew up. This year she asked her two sons about their favorite Christmases and, surprising to us, both volunteered those same years. Part of these gatherings was me playing guitar most evenings while everybody there sang. Fortunately we captured several of those evenings on cassette tapes, now converted to CDs. I play them every Christmas season and they make me smile, laugh and cry. They capture so much joy and so much love and bring out so many deeply affecting memories.

When I lost my bride I gave all of our Christmas decorations to my sons and started rotating my Christmases among my three sons' families. I'm in Bakersfield tonight after three days of driving, some a bit difficult. I'm really looking forward to a few great experiences, including a "Shopping spree with Gramp" after they open the cash gift envelopes they get Christmas morning. I started giving cash when I realized I was insufficiently current on what they wanted due to us living so far apart. I've discovered that watching them go through toy stores with a cart and a bigger budget than normal is a true joy. I am fortunate in that it also lets me see how bright they are as they make their purchase decisions within their budget for the day. Their parents are clearly teaching them well.

I hope you all have great Christmases that give you happy memories!

Brad


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas all
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:18 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Leo, IN.
I never really celebrated Christmas with my grandparents. My father's parents were both dead by the time I was born. My mother's parents were both alive and we did have them around at Christmas sometimes, but never really created any lasting memories with them.

This will be our second year with our own Grandchildren. We have 3 now with the addition of Adam who is nearly 4 years old and the son of our son-in-law. Jaxson is 16 months and Brinnley is 2 weeks old. We will gather tonight at the home of my oldest brother for a feast and a few presents for the youngsters. The oldest of which is a Freshman at Purdue this year. There will be 20 people together, the families of me and 2 of my three brothers. My sister lives in Pa. and rarely comes at Christmas as her and her husband are both nearing 80 and prefer not to drive long distances in the winter. The youngest of my brothers is in Fl. and not healthy. I have not seen him in 4 years.

My family is pretty much drama free and a good caring group of folks. I've always known people who's families are some level of dysfunctional, but can't imagine being part of one. Family is the most important part of Christmas, not gifts and glitter. At least to me it is. I am not an extravagant gift giver. I bought 4 gifts this year, 2 for my wife and one each for both daughters. They aren't wrapped yet, but will be this afternoon.

I hope each of you in this unique group of like minded folks has a wonderful Holiday. I hope you are able to spend it with those dear to you and that your time is blessed with happiness and fond memories.

_________________
Duct tape can't fix stupid, but it can muffle the sound.
Nurses can't fix stupid, but we can sedate it.


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 Post subject: Re: Merry Christmas all
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:25 pm
Posts: 184
Location: Gwinnett County, GA
Good memories guys, red cedars were the Christmas trees of my youth after graduating from college my better half wanted to start buying one from a local stand as I remember.

I think my brother would agree our best Christmas was 1963, we had invited a youngster, Cotton, about my brother's age from the Baptist Children's Village to spend the holiday with us. After opening presents at our house we were driving to my grandparent's house about 100 miles away. By the time we got 30 miles down the road the snow was coming down so heavy were turned around and went back home. I remember going to my best buddies and then down the street and playing touch football in the snow. It's the only white Christmas I ever remember. Cotton and my brother kept in touch with each other for a good many years afterward, until Cotton joined the Navy I believe.

Our daughter is coming over with her husband and his daughter so Charli can open her gifts from her other grandparents today and then they will be back Monday for Christmas lunch. We will visit with family in Louisiana and Mississippi by phone Sunday and Monday. I wish each of you the best Christmas ever and may many more and better follow.


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