Growing up me Holidays Uncategorized

Christmas, remembered

There remains, for me, a magic to Christmas EveChristmas 1959 2
a carryover from youth, augmented with the new
memories being created, added to the repertoire

Thou the idyllic Mel Torme and Norman Rockwell
versions of iconic song and picture were only loving
adornments to the Christmas Eves I remembernat-king-cole-the-christmas-song-merry-christmas-to-you-1956
their annual, wistful reappearances are welcome

The night before Christmas was always a boisterous
holiday evening at my aunt an uncle’s suburban space,
not physically but atmospherically distant from
the more compact city neighborhood I knew

The night before Christmas, all through their house,Christmas 1959
laughter, excitement – my yearly chocolate Chrismouse

Christmas Eve meant food starting with a coffee table
full of Norwegian sardines, pickled herring, goat cheese;
more all-American and cheddar cheese and hard salami
all laid out on shiny plates – one of just Ritz crackers,ritzcrackers
on which I artfully packed all of my pre-meal delicacies

It was all augmented liberally with background Christmas
music from an old console stereo…one 33-and-third black
vinyl album at a time, dropping to the turntable until the
stack was spent, needed flipping to assorted side twos

The night before Christmas dinner meant boiled codfishtorsk2
befitting my mother’s family’s Norwegian heritage
and served with boiled potatoes and flatbread, all
slathered by ample pitchers of melted butter

Christmas Eve always ended with me awakening as IChristmas 1961
was being carried to bed, having fallen soundly asleep
somewhere between the family revelry and home

Christmas morning found me awaking before my
parents, before Gramps had arrived for the day;
alone but never lonely, I would be alone to sit andRockwell2
ponder our modestly decorated tree, packages strewn
beneath it like so many colorfully dropped pinecones

Never did I see mommy kissing Santa Claus

Growing up on the top floor of a tidy duplex, I had no
stairs to creep down except to go outside
there was no railing spindles between which to peekChristmas 1968
though mom and dad made occasional use of the
plastic, hung-on-the-living-room-arch mistletoe

Never did we rock around our tree, an always live,
dad-preferred (its-needles-didn’t-drop!) Scotch pine
though when Gramps arrived we could always manage
a quick, Norwegian jig or two to some Christmas songtree
or another playing on the transistor radio in the corner

We had no fireplace chimney by which to hang stockings
though a small nail in the wooden archway between our
living and dining room did the trick, diminished none of
morning’s excitement of a stuffed stocking, hanging

We had no fire on which to roast chestnuts or standnormanrockwellchristmastrio
before singing carols, though my father would sporadically
duet with Nat King Cole on the radio, as together they
extolled the virtues of a Christmas foreign to us;
an archetype we did quite nicely without

I remember youthful Christmases for what they were;NatKingColealbum
fun, joyful, memorable though not all that lyrical.

“Although it’s been said, many times, many ways…
Merry Christmas to you.” And to me.

Mark Lucker

By poetluckerate

I am a poet, writer, and teacher who moved from Minnesota to New Orleans in 2008 then returned to Minnesota in 2018 - hopefully, to stay.

I lived in the most urban of settings, and the rural Midwest. These perspectives impact my writing in very unique ways.

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