I have been distracted a lot lately by big fat men in red suits and the like… so here is a sampling from a Christmas not so long ago…..
He first showed up at my parent’s house in Ahoskie in 1967. I was only 8 years old at the time and I thought he was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. He would stand on our porch from right after Thanksgiving until the first of the year. His appearance was one of those things that signaled the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year. I always loved to see him show up…
Then we moved from Ahoskie to Elizabeth City… and he came along too. And as I got older his importance faded. He would just be in the way out there… sometimes kinda blocking the doorway. I would sometimes see him as a nuisance. I found his showing up and his leaving as just another distraction in my life.
I moved away from home… went off to college, got married and started living the life I felt I was meant to live. Occasionally I would see him at the holidays. He was just kinda there… not really impacting my feelings about things one way or the other.
This past year has had its challenges to say the least… and one day this past summer, I ran into him again in the storage building at my parents as my sister and I began the process of packing up the lives of our youths and moving them, and tossing them and storing them away.
Suddenly his importance had returned! All those times years he hung out on my mom and dad’s porch I never realized it, but now I do. He was standing there… gathering the record of all of those Christmases as they past… keeping them, just for me. So, what to do?
So I made room for him in my vehicle and brought him back to my house. And right after Thanksgiving, once again he found his way to my porch now. This same Christmas, my mom came to spend the holidays with me. She had recently moved to Florida to be closer to my sister. Since my dad passed away, she had been in a steady state of decline. I was so happy to have her with me this year. Any way, back to my story. So shortly after she arrived, one evening we were discussing him. We decided we would just walk out on the porch and pay him a visit. My mom and I stood and looked at him for a few minutes, not saying a single word. Then we looked at each other and smiled… and maybe cried just a bit… remembering.
And now, every night when I arrive home from work, there he is… looking just like I remember from 44 years ago… and I can’t help but smile.