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