Monday, November 24, 2014

~LIFETIME FRIENDSHIPS AND ENDINGS..~

Well, I've made a decision.  
I've taken a few shortcut steps..and I hope you are sitting down....oh..it's not that big a deal, so you can stand..but this die hard "has to be a live tree!' has decided that this will be the very last year. 
So I am giving up a tradition.  I won't go out and search the Christmas tree lots for that perfect tree..or as of late, just a good fresh tree of the right height.no..not this year.  I ORDERED my fresh tree of the right size over the Internet!  Yes!  I did!

It will be delivered fresh (they say) shipping out on the 8th of December and arriving on the 12th, right to our doorstep from the East Coast.   
It's okay.   It's time.

Pumpkin cookies by my Maryalice.

The pumpkins on the porch are not gone, but the other Autumn outdoor decor will stay until after Thanksgiving.  

I am having guests for several weeks that will be staying with us, Or I should say WE are, so I have begun to ready the inside of our home for the Christmas holiday.  No, no decorations..just deep cleaning.. and furniture arranging, deciding where to put what.
This will be a special Christmas because my best friends from childhood will not only be with us, but it will likely be the last time they will come to California.  She is 78 and he is 80.  I know this logically, but my heart won't accept it.  We all double dated in high school.  Yes, all four of us.  Patrick and Mick  graduating the same year, 1952, and Neddie and I two years later. 1954.

I won't cry.  I won't shed a tear.  I must only think on this with happiness and not let tears blur this happy occasion.  
The story of our two families, my seven and her five, could be a book.  Our trials and times.
Ups and down.  Laughter and tears. The times things were bad and we all lived together in each others small homes.  Not for long periods of time, once for six months, but until whoever was having difficult times came through and were back on their feet.  We had each others back!
My dearest friend Neddie and I.  Winter 2006  Because of Ned, I finally got the courage to let my hair go white.  Now we match. 
  
Our children, we found out later, thought they were all cousins!  They were shocked to know this was not true and the day came when the story of our friendship was told and cleared it up that we were not related.  They knew we had been friends through school, but still thought we were somehow related.  I remember the day when they came home from high school one afternoon and said " Mom, just exactly how are we related to the Walkers??  
:)
Sort of like the day they found out there was no Santa.
We filled the "Santa" truth with love.  Santa was symbol  of  the love of parents for their children.  I was also the one that explained to the Grands.  


However we put it, it worked.
Telling of our children of our "two family connection" was much the same.
Love and friendship that lasts a lifetime.
The value of this.  The blessing.
We all knew that such friendships are not common..as most folks will say "Oh, we could NEVER live with anyone like that!  I mean, how in the world did you cope with all those children in one small home.  
All I can do is smile.
Those memories are some of the most precious of our lives.
  
When they moved to Arkansas after their children were grown and gone, we were devastated, but we  coped.  They wanted to be near their children.  We understood, but now we know that is not always the best thing.  They bought a home and settled down..only to find that their church was becoming more and more their family out of necessity.
So...I wanted them to come home for Christmas this year and they are coming. We will be together this one last time.
No, Pat isn't here, and he was Mick's best friend.  We all went through high school together..so now one of us is gone.  I remember one evening we lightly talked about it.  I remember trying to get promises that none of us would leave the other.  I don't think it ever occurred to us that eventually one of us would be the last.  It was unthinkable.
Thankfully they were in California visiting us when Pat had a massive stroke and died suddenly just ten days later on December 15th, 1997 at 6:30 in the morning.

I have photo's through those years but they are in albums and many packed away and besides, they would have no meaning to anyone but us.   

Thus you have it.  The last real Christmas tree and the last visit.  
But, where there is life, there is hope.  *smile*
Love, 
Mona

P.S. (Seems I always have a post script)  Mick and PH have bonded and are great friends.  I've been blessed.  We all have.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

~A REAL TREE OR A FAKE TREE this year...~

You know, I get tempted, because Thanksgiving isn't at our home this year, to put my Autumn decor away and get going on Christmas.  
Not sure why, but I just cannot seem to do it.
The pictures below were taken with my  old camera a few years ago. 

Last years Christmas tree?  I just cannot remember.

  I think this may have been the year before..but..
here's what has me lying awake at night.  (I'm kidding!)  
I've been thinking of giving in and finding lovely fake tree and not going to the tree lots looking for that perfect tree. 
There are no more little ones to insist that we go to the tree farm.  
Okay, THEY didn't insist.  I wanted to go!  I was first in the car!  :)
But..I'm old now and beginning to notice that it's more difficult to do what I have always done.
My heart and my head want to go look..sniff deeply of the pine scent in the air...watch other people and their little ones search..ponder and then pass to the next tree.  
Too skinny!
To fat
A big hole in that one.
The top is crooked.!
Etc. etc.
But it's cold out, crowds everywhere.  Shouldn't I just find a pretty real LOOKING fake tree? 

So..I began looking.  I shopped the internet.  I saw the high prices and tried to think.."but..this is an investment!"  I found that a really pretty real looking tree cost..A LOT!  I do not want to spend that kind of money on a tree that is not real.  
Then I thought.. "What if I only get to use it a year..two..three..and besides, how many more Christmas's do I have to smell the sweet fragrance of pine and let the memories of taking my children to find that perfect tree come flooding back.  The hot chocolate and hot dog's by a roaring fire pit, and them running to find me when they finally find their perfect tree!
It all comes back to me every year.

So..our home will have a pretty fresh Nobel Christmas tree this year..and I'll decorate it..more slowly, and alone as PH and his late wife had stopped having  Christmas trees  and he just doesn't understand my need to do what I do. So I'll decorate it and sit by the fire with my PH and watch the lights blink and twinkle and enjoy the smile on his face when he sees the end result.
I'll hope the children find time to come and see it..


I'll set the dining room table as though Christmas dinner were going to be here, and I'll put toys under the tree for decoration instead of stacking it with piles of gifts for my children as their father and I did so many years ago.
I'll put my little gifts for PH under the tree, and hope he will get used to what I do at Christmastime.

  Our family has gotten so large that each of my children only give gifts to their own little families  and one gift to put under the tree for our gift exchange game at my daughters home. 
Traditions change.
We gather in a huge circle..both for Thanksgiving and for Christmas and hold hands.
Our gift to each other is just being together.
A prayer is said and then we speak of my daughter, Sandy, and her father, both victims of cancer, and their stepfather who was only with us for six years.  Another victim of cancer.
Then..
someone (usually one of my crazy sons) always says something funny..and everyone laughs..and our holidays begin.
I've noticed something.
Not a single one of my grown children have fake tree's!  
I'm in a rush to decorate, but I can wait!  It's tradition in our family to wait..and so I will.  But if you are decorating early for Christmas, I'll come and peek at your beautiful decorations!!  
Nope..it's not in me to decorate early but when you have lots and lots, I can see why some dear folks start early.  I believe it's their Christmas gift to others.  
*smile*

Love, 
Mona

P.S,  I put some candy canes in a little vintage creamer in the living room..I just couldn't help it!!