far from family. Which meant a long journey
home every holiday. Frank went to Montana.
While I celebrated in Williamsburg, Virginia
with my kids and parents. Dad's Lionel train
chugging around the foot of a fresh cut tree
covered with a lifetime of ornaments. As our
stockings hung on the mantle. Closets stuffed
with presents. Candles ablaze Christmas Eve
as we celebrated mass at Bruton Parrish. While
a real Virginia ham soaked in preparation for
our yuletide feast. Precious memories that we
all cherish to this day. Those were the days...
they have until it's gone. As the years passed
my parent's world grew ever smaller. My Dad.
the victim of Alzheimer's faded away. Finally
they moved into assisted living in Lewistown.
Where Mom and I joined the Valachs in their
holiday traditions. Creating new memories.
Such as that night we spiked Ethel's eggnog.
On Christmas we dined on a big roast goose,
sauerkraut, dumplings, and Pearl's spaghetti.
Ending every holiday gathered (post a nap)
around the cleared table to join in a rousing
game of "Shvick" (cards). Oh what fun it is!
us a large box of fruit and goodies. Which we
enjoyed before and after the big event. Now
that Frank's Dad left us earlier this year - our
parents are all gone. Hence we were surprised
when we found a big box at our door. Filled
with all we'd come to expect each holiday. The
card reading "Merry Christmas Love Mom &
Dad". Bringing tears to our eyes. Not out of
sorrow but love. Whether they came via Dad
or brother "B" doesn't matter. It's the thought
that counts. And so even today our Christmas
memories continue to bear fruit.