Sunday, July 23, 2017

Really was like Christmas in July

I knew this photo existed. I just couldn't put my hands on it until one day last week-one day during the month of July. Finding the photo in a pile of old photos in a trunk kept in the garage has led me to believe there really can be Christmas in July! Before I thought it was just hype. A great phrase to use as a marketing tool when sales slack off in the heat of summer. But now I feel differently. Finding the photo of me in my nightgown opening a gift on a Christmas morning and my mother sitting on the couch nearby with her hair done up in bobby pins was like opening a gift on Christmas morning with the snow coming down and Bing Crosby and Dean Martin and Andy Williams taking turns with the entertainment.

While today-at this very moment as I write this post-there is no snow outside or pile of unopened presents in the living room stacked beneath a tinsel-laden Christmas tree decorated with ornaments bought at Newberry's and Woolworths and while there is no Santa on a mantel, and despite the fact that particular house was sold and my mother has passed away and I have two grandchildren, really-nothing has changed. The spirit and anticipation felt that Christmas morning of long ago still exists even in the month of July for it exists in my heart. It has never gone away.

Since finding the photo I've looked at it several times and each time I'm brought back to that morning. I can smell the coffee perking in the kitchen and my grandmother's Christmas bread sliced and sitting on the table covered in a red, hand-embroidered by my mother tablecloth. I can see my father sitting in his chair already dressed for the day and most likely that included sporting a tie. I can hear my younger sister and brother tearing through their stockings and then going for their presents while my older brother sits like me quietly opening gifts. After all, we were older. We couldn't rip off the paper. We were too cool. I dare say while on the outside he remained cool and calm; inside his stomach was doing flips and somersaults. I know that's how I remember feeling as I sat near my mother quietly opening presents on a Christmas morning of long ago.

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