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Keeping memories alive

Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 at 8:00 am

My Take

By Mark McGee

In the middle of all the deluge of Christmas goodies of all sorts I went into the kitchen late one night and fixed a peanut butter sandwich and washed it down with grape juice.

I would have used milk, but I was out. But the grape juice was a good combination. It brought me back to the days of my youth when I would eat a peanut butter sandwich with an accompaniment of grape Kool-Aid.

Nostalgic to be sure. A simple joy in the midst of all of the rich foods we consume during the holidays, but it was more about nostalgia for me.

Memories of Christmases past are where I found comfort during the holiday season this year. I am sure many of you may have shared these same feelings.

Familiar and cherished faces were no longer present at the festivities. There was an empty chair at the dinner table. No one occupying a favorite seat in the den. Fewer presents under the tree. Maybe on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day you tried to start new customs so you wouldn’t think so much about what had become traditions through the years.

There was resistance from some quarters I am sure. But, hey, you had to try.

Things change and there is no time of the year when we are reminded more of those changes than during the Christmas season.

Parents pass away or deal with health problems that limit their abilities to fully enjoy the season. Grandparents and other close relatives or friends have passed on.

Christmas is for children. And though I don’t really miss those late nights helping Santa out, I do miss the happiness I saw on my daughter’s face on Christmas morning.

Special holiday trips to Chattanooga, Atlanta, New York City and even London, England that changed location based on her age, are no longer booked.

My daughter is 30, but I still get a little sad when I walk through the toy aisles at stores. For some reason that melancholy was stronger this year.

Our children grow older and the magic of Christmas mornings dims a little for them and for us as parents as well.

They make new relationships. The demands on their time during the holidays forces them to become modern day Solomon. Activities are altered, rescheduled or canceled altogether.

Gone are big Christmas morning breakfasts. Christmas dinner, served sometime during the day, is often a hurried affair. Special Christmas Eve lunch gatherings are no longer held. Christmas night parties that were once staples have also gone by the wayside.

We are in the final days of the Christmas season. Some view it with relief. Others, who were lucky enough to make special memories, will be sad to see it go as head into dull January.

I hope your season was merry and bright. Let’s all hope and pray for a better, safe and happier New Year!