Friday, December 25, 1998

Christmas Memories and Sausage

It is hard to believe that the Christmas season is upon us again. Where did the time go? It seems like the older I get, the faster time goes by. In the blink of an eye, the 1900’s will be gone and we will be staring at the new millennium. It all seems surreal. New memories will be made and stored, to mix with the old memories of family and loved ones.

Another think I have noticed about the fact I am getting older, is the type of memories I am remembering and cherishing. Family traditions and closeness are among my top memories. As I try and preserve these memories, with paper and ink, for my children, one particular Christmas memory leaps to mind. This memory is not of Santa, or presents, or candy. This memory, believe it or not, is of sausage and mustard.

When I was a little girl, my family lived in a small house in a wonderful subdivision. We were friendly with all our neighbors, and we always visited, especially during the holidays. Just thinking about my old neighbors brings an ache to my heart. I have live3d in my present home for over five years, and I still only know a handful of my neighbors. People just don’t visit like they did in the 60’s and 70’s, and I am just as guilty as the next person for not visiting.

Anyway, on this particular holiday night, one of our neighbors was having a Christmas party, and everyone was invited I was only eight, or maybe nine years old, and boy, was I ever looking forward to going to this party. But as fate would have it, on the day of the party, I got sick. I don’t remember what was wrong with me, but I do remember that my mom said I was too sick to go to the party. I was devastated! For a child, missing Christmas party is a major disappointment. My mom promised to bring me back something from the party, but it wouldn’t be the same. I would miss all my friends and the games we would play.

Cry as I might, I stayed home the night of the party. My brother and sister happily left with my mom, leaving me at home with my dad. Now, I loved my dad very much, but spending a night at home, alone, with him was not something I looked forward to. Little girls just seem to have a hard time talking with their dads, I thought for sure I would be stuck watching the news all night, since, back then, we only had one television.

So I plugged in the Christmas tree lights and plopped down on the couch to POUT! Pouting is something that I did, and still do, very well. I just sat there and stared at the television screen with a mean look on my face. To my surprise, my dad turned off the news and turned on a Christmas show. He then came over and sat by me on the couch. There we sat, side by side, neither of us saying a word. As my anger of being sick faded, I melted into my dad. As I snuggled up to him, he put his arm around me, and we watched the show together. We didn’t say a word, but I could feel the love flowing through the room. I felt so happy and content.

After the show, we were both hungry, so we headed for the kitchen. Now, my dad wasn’t much of a cook, in fact, as a child, I’m not sure if I can ever remember him cooking. After much debate, we decided that dad would fry some sausage we would eat sausage sandwiches for supper. As the sausage simmered, I puttered around the kitchen, trying to help my dad. I was in seventh heaven! I felt so close to my dad, the feeling was unbelievable.

When the sausage was done, we began assembling our sandwiches. Dad had said that we could eat in front of the television, so I was in a hurry to settle back down on the couch. Then I saw my dad do the strangest thing. He pulled the mustard out of the refrigerator, and began spreading it on his sausage. Mustard on sausage! Ugh! I thought that was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen. Bust dad convinced me to try a little bit, so, of course, I did.

As the two of us, again, sat side by side on the couch that warm, fuzzy feeling crept back in. There we sat, Christmas tree lights twinkling, a Christmas show playing the television, and the two of us eating sausage and mustard sandwiches. The love I felt for my dad at that moment was…indescribable. We sat there, together, for several hours, until mom and my siblings returned. Of course, she brought me some Christmas cookies, but that magical moment with my dad was broken…but never forgotten.

Now a days, I have a family of my own, and I hope they take great memories with them into adulthood. Our holiday season is built upon many family traditions, and some non-traditions. I want them to always remember how much I love them. Sausage and mustard may not be one of the things my girls remember, but for me, every time I cook sausage, I think of my dad. Since that one holiday night many years ago, I have never eaten sausage without mustard. For me, sausage and mustard will always remind me of my father’s love.

© Bobbi Rightmyer, December 1998

Saturday, November 28, 1998

The Persuasions of Wal-Mart

Walk into Wal-Mart immediately after Halloween, and what is the first thing you see? Well, the first thing I see is not seen at all. I hear Christmas carols; Christmas carols before Thanksgiving! I hate to see the seasons rushed, but boy, listen to them. Doesn’t it just put you in the mood for the holiday season? Be remember, Bobbi, you are just here to pick up some AA batteries. Christine, my 6 year old, and I must move on. I don’t have time for Christmas shopping today. No, Christine, we are not here for cookies, or candy or chips, for that matter.

Let’s see … batteries … batteries … where are those batteries? No, Christine, you can’t have a candy bar. Oh, I wish they didn’t stock the candy on such a low shelf she sees everything. Ok, ok, just stop crying and you can have one candy bar. No, you can’t open it now. Wait until later. Now, what was I looking for?

Look at those cute little shirts! Wow, they are on sale. Well, the sign says they are on sale, but I can’t find the shirt I like with a sale tag on it. But this one is so adorable. My middle daughter, Marie, will just love this; she just loves Cookie Monster. Can you imagine, a 14 year old that still loves Cookie Monster? $24.95, I’ll just let them find the sale price when we check out. Hey, maybe she needs a new pair of pants to go with the shirt. Hmmm, these are perfect, $19.95. I hope these are the right sizes, I just hate to return things, especially at holiday time.

How did we get way over here? I don’t think I’ll find batteries down the video aisle. Look at this! X-Files: Fight For the Future, wow, and it’s the wide screen version, just what my hubby was looking for. This will make a wonderful gift for his Christmas stocking. $16.99, what a good price. And look, here is the new Shania Twain CD, my oldest, Amber, has been wanting this every since she saw Shania in concert. I guess I had better get it now before they are all gone.

Excuse me, Miss, where is everyone going in such a hurry? Sales special! In the bedding depart. Come one, Christine, let’s check this out. Sheets, blankets, towels, we could use plenty of these $22.99, $13.95, $6.50 each. These will come in handy.

Christine … Christine? Now where is she? Christine … oh, there you are. No, you don’t need a new craft kit. You still have one at home that you haven’t finished. Please get up. No, I let you get a candy bar, so you can’t get a craft. No! Please stop crying, honey. Ok, pick out a small paint set, and I mean one of the small ones. And, you had better stop that crying right this minute! Come on, sweetheart, let’s find the batteries so we can go home.

Ok, Bobbi, you’ve got to get out of here before you spend all your money. Let’s see. I still need to get some shampoo and soap. No, Christine, you can’t get a toy. No, I just let you pick out a craft kit, and you’ve got a candy bar. No, no toys. No, not even a book. I know, they’ve got the new Christmas books out, but it’s too soon to buy one. Ok, you can get a book, but you have to take the craft kit back. Please, don’t start whining. Come on, honey, you can’t have everything you want. Please don’t start crying. Ok, ok, one coloring book and that is it. No you cannot have new crayons. Pick out a coloring book and be quick about it.

Wow, look at the pretty Christmas lights. I shouldn’t be looking at these, I just got through carving pumpkins last week. I’m not ready to switch to Christmas so soon. Oh, my, there are the twinkling lights that I wanted last year. I never got any because they were all sold out. Maybe I’ll just get a few packages now while they’re in stock. Yes, Christine I see the Winnie the Pooh ornaments. Aren’t they the cutest things? Oh, I just can’t resist ornaments. I sometimes think I’m as bad as the kids are. I think maybe I’ll get one or two. I don’t know, maybe we need the whole set. I’d hate to get one or two and then not be able to get the rest. This is definitely the last thing I’m putting in this shopping cart. But I feel like I’m forgetting something.

Gosh, now I have to wait in line. Oh yeah, I forgot, we need a TV Guide. And I can never find a lighter to light my candles. I’d better get some gum for the older girls. $127.43! My hubby is going to kill me! I can’t believe that I spent this much money. Things are so expensive now a days.

Come on, Christine, let’s go home. Yes, now you can eat your candy bar. Just don’t get it all over everything. You know, you really wear me out when I take you to town. No, we can’t go to McDonald’s for lunch. We’ll eat a sandwich at home. Gosh, I feel like I’m forgetting something. I knew I should have made a list before going into Wal-Mart. Oh well, I guess I’ll remember what it was later. After all, I make three to four regular trips to Wally World every week. And who know, with Christmas coming …

© Bobbi Rightmyer