11/21/2004

TIME: Slow DOWN you're going TOO FAST!

Wow! Is it me or is time going faster the older I get? Where have the years gone?

I was thinking today of how we used to do both Thanksgiving and then Christmas years ago. We would always gather with all the Aunts and Uncles and Cousins at my Polish Grandma's house where she would put out such a spread of delicasies that only my Grandma could produce. There would be roast duck, home make Kluski noodles, with (let me guess the spelling) Charnina soup, and that luscious Babka cake that just melts in your mouth. MMMMM!

Nobody I tried has ever reproduced those wonderful flavors like she made it! For you non-Polish people, Charnina is a duck's blood soup, but it's filled with (let me think) I think there was raisins, or plums that made it a sweeter flavor, not like BLOOD at all! No wonder by 5th grade I was already overweight! I don't even think there is a store in the area that you can buy live ducks, or chickens, that they kill and clean while you wait any more.

My fellow cousins and I would delight (??) my Aunts, Uncles, and specially Grandpa and Grandma with the beautiful Christmas carols we would sing for them in the kitchen while the food was being prepared. We would sing our little hearts out!

Christmas at Grandma's was always special for me. With all the relatives there, my Uncle Chet use to go up in Grandma's attic and dress up in full Santa suit, and play Santa for us. When I was real young, I believed, but when older I realized that it was my Uncle. My Uncle Chet was over 6 feet tall and skinny as a rail, and it was easy to guess him. All the family would exchange little gifts and it was so good being with all the family.

(Seems like only yesterday, but so much has changed. Grandma and Grandpa are long gone, and too much of the family have passed away.)

Looking back too to some Christmases not long ago, with our girls on some old home video, we saw how they delighted in getting those special gifts they longed for, and the excitement they had. They couldn't sleep all Christmas eve. When they got where they could NOT sleep at all until Santa had arrived. So in the wee hours of the night, Santa would FINALLY stomp his feet and HO HO HO! and they knew he had come, so they could creep out of their beds run into our room and tell us Santa had come! I love the looks in their eyes when they opened their gifts and got that special something they had been hoping for. As they got older, Santa's (HRMPH) taste was not the taste of two growing young teens, so we delevoped fun ways to give them money to buy the things they really wanted. One year there was a Money tree just loaded with dollars to pick, another year there was a mobil filled with envelopes each representing the twelve days of Christmas, each envelope had money, and another year there was bunches of helium balloons filled with dollars, (they had to bust the balloons with anything BUT their hands) ,what a funny sight that was! We never laughed so HARD! I miss those days.

Now I am looking forward to another Christmas with my daughters and my 4 beautiful grandchildren. (Where'd the summer go?...Did I miss it?) GOD! Those grandkids are growing so big, and I find it more difficult to find things to get them that will still spark that special Light in their eyes when they open the gifts that we get them.

We have, over the past few years, made a tradition of having my husband, Barlow, dress in a cheap Santa suit. After dinner he dissapears in the bedroom while the kids are'nt looking and gets ready to play "Poppa Clause!" He delights in coming out and surprising all the kids and making them come and tell him if they have been good all year. (YEAH, RIGHT! tee hee!)

Then we all go in the rec-room and each kid brings up one of their gifts off the mountain tagged for each kid. Poppa Clause would tell them it's okay for them to open them one at a time. We try to get them to SLOW DOWN, so we will see the looks of glee in their faces when they open each gift, but after a while it becomes a free for all with paper flying! But we have great fun! I will miss this special kind of Christmas as the kids get too big for Santa and they're not little kids anymore. Time is just flying too fast..............and I want it to SLOW DOWN! (We're enjoying it too much!)

Does anyone else have memories or traditions like these they love to remember? Want to share some of them?

2 comments:

caroline said...

I like the tradition of eating all your great food! Especially stuffed cabbage! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
I miss the old days, but now that i have my own kids i have my own memories and i also try to find them the one gift that lights their faces up with surprise!

Mallard said...

Even for me, at just 40, a year only seems to last aboout 7 months! Didn't I only put the Xmas decorations away just a couple of months' ago?!? hahahaa.

"Duck's Blood Soup" doesn't sound as good as "Charnina "!

I have vivid memories of my grandparents who, alas, have also passed away. I always have tried to create memories for my three sons at special occasions like Xmas and their birthdays. It's getting a whole lot harder, now that I'm divorced, but I'm not divorced from then now, am I?! My last 3 Xmas' have been pretty lonely times, unfortunately, so I've got mixed feelings about the coming season - especially the actual day. I'm trying to work out if I can spend it, if not with my brothers' family, then possibly with a friends' family someplace. The actual 'day' is always hardest for me, come Xmas. But - that's OK.

One Xmas day we all went on a family picinic on Xmas day, rather than the big sit-down family dinner etc. We went to a huge reserve of about 200 acres about 20km out of town - and we were practically the only ones there! We took our bats, balls, picnic stuff, games etc etc - and just hung out. It was THE most relaxed Xmas family day we'd ever had.

Thanx for your email too. It's good to meet new people and learn about how they celebrate their familes from across the planet this way.
Cyalayta
Mal :o)