For Part IV of My 12 Favorite Christmas Memories as inspired by Wanderlust Scarlett's meme, I'm going to stick with the childhood theme. If you haven't yet, you should also check out Parts I, II, and III.
Now here are three more that come from my earlier years, and since we just talked about cookies, let's stay there for a moment.
7. Jeanie & Joe eating all the kolaches
Jeanie was my great-aunt's daughter and Joe was her husband. That might sound rather extended to you, but since my Aunt Babe lived about 30 seconds away from her sister (my grandmother), our families were always quite close, especially around the holidays--and my Aunt Babe remains one of my most favorite people in the world. She knows everything!
And what are kolaches? My mom's version looks something like this:
Walnut goodness wrapped in cream cheese dough and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I made these this year, but I had to improvise because I couldn't find a square ravioli cutter like she uses. In Italy! I couldn't find the ravioli cutter I needed! Harumph!
So I used a round one, which makes smaller ravioli and that made rolling these babies a lot more challenging. They're still delicious though, and that's what matters, right?
Well kolaches were probably the most sought after cookie at my grandmother's house (she also made them) during the holidays--so much so that my mom used to make a tray just for my grandfather to keep *in his bedroom*. Yes, this grandfather.
Anyway, Jeanie and Joe lived a couple hours away from us, so they came in for the holidays right as they were beginning, which left their visiting time to a minimum. And so, they'd come over, often individually, on Christmas morning, which as you can imagine, was always quite hectic as anywhere from 5 to 15 people would be eating dinner there at noon.
My grandmother always played the perfect hostess, though, despite having a million other things to do--she truly loved their visits.
But after a while she noticed that there would always be a huge dent made in the cookie tray in the area of the kolaches after Joe left--and let's be honest, it was mainly Joe who was the culprit. So my grandmother would purposely take most of the kolaches off the tray (she'd leave him a few of course), often literally as he was coming up the walkway.
"Joe's coming! Grab the kolaches!" *was* shouted.
Jeanie was mostly innocent in the Great Kolache Fiasco but she's thrown in this memory because her Christmas morning visits were always such a huge part of the holidays, and also because she recently passed away.
Jeanie was just 62 years old, and her husband Joe passed away last year after a long debilitating illness which included a heart transplant. Their children are around my age, and I think of them more often than ever.
And now with the holidays, wonderful memories of their parents have really come rushing back to me, and I hope they do for them as well.
8. I'm Mary!OK, let's lighten things up with a fun memory from about fourth grade--when I was chosen to play Mary in the church play of the Nativity Scene.
I was never the one chosen for things like that, and to be honest, I thought one of my best friends who eventually became the angel would be Mary, but nope. I was Mary! Everyone was so proud!
I think we picked names out of a hat or something, so it really was no big feat to have won the non-speaking role. But whatever. I was Mary! I wrapped the Baby Jesus in swaddling clothes!
And I do have a photo of it somewhere, just not here. Sorry. Maybe next year.
Also, attached to this memory? I was also the one who got to put the Baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning in our nativity scene at home. Woohoo! The benefits of being the youngest in the house!
9. Caroling with Friends
They don't really do the caroling thing around here (not that I've seen/heard anyway), but I do have a fond memory of caroling when I was probably about 12 years old.
A group of girlfriends, probably about 10 of us, went around one evening and sang and sang and sang--and if anyone wonders why I know the words to just about any Christmas song, this is probably why. Seriously, try me.
One blustery December night, instead of going home after school, we all went to the house that would serve as Caroling Central. We got all bundled up (it was *freezing*!), and then walked around town, avoiding slushy puddles and snow piles, stopping at random houses, especially near those that were all lit up, assuming they'd certainly appreciate the effort.
We got invited into so many homes, drank far too much hot cocoa, and even made some cash--which we spent later that night on pizza if I recall correctly. Guess we could've donated the money, but hey, we were 12. And hungry.
Ah, and of course there was a huge slumber party afterwards.
I had almost forgotten about this memory until Wanderlust Scarlett and I got "talking" via email. I'm so happy that she reminded me! I don't have contact with most of those girls anymore, but some of them are still my best friends--and you know who you are--and I'm certainly thinking of you this Christmas.
Ah, small town America in the late 1980s.
Come back tomorrow for the final installment of My 12 Favorite Christmas Memories!