Ramblings: Christmas Edition

A picture print by Currier & Ives.

 

I’m just about done with whatever preparations I’m going to make for Christmas and I’m ready to let the celebrations commence.  If you didn’t get a card from me by now, chances are you aren’t going to, especially since I sent out exactly one.  Sorry.

You may have also noticed I didn’t send any homemade goodies.  Don’t feel bad. I didn’t bake anything because I have a serious sugar addiction.  I am already fighting off the dreaded holiday 5 pound gain and falling into a sugar-induced coma each night from all the goodies that appear at my office and call out to me with their siren song, “Eat me!  It’s the holidays…it’s ok.  Eat me!”  In a good way.   I can’t have that stuff in the house. Sorry.

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My husband, Bill, went up to Chicago to have some melanoma spots taken off his back yesterday.  The doctor said it was very early stages, so no worries.  Except of course it is worrisome.  Melanoma is real cancer, not just old sunburn spots.  And he had a pretty big, pretty serious melanoma spot removed from his arm almost 9 years ago.

You know how doctors say “you’ll feel a little pinch” when they’re about to hack off a major body part?  That’s what they told him, but after 2 hours of digging around, when the local wore off he said it felt like somebody shot him in the back.  They gave him a couple Tylenol.

He’s a trooper.  Despite the pain he hung around the city all day so he could pick up our youngest, Gwen, from the airport in the evening.

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Gwen is home from California and we had a nice catch-up chat late last night.  I left her my car today and she’ll come fetch me so we can have lunch.

Liz will be coming home tonight from Iowa.  I am so happy and thankful that we will have both of our little chickees home under our roof.

We are all going to dinner tonight with a family who are dear friends.  Then, tomorrow, Bill’s sister is coming from Indianapolis, and our niece and her family are in from New York.  We’ll have dinner Friday night with Bill’s family, and how wonderful it will be when we are together.

Saturday we leave for Michigan.  I haven’t missed a Christmas at home in 58 years.  I know.  Can’t wait to see most of my dear family.  We’ll miss those who can’t be there, especially my dad.

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My dad died a couple of months ago.  This will be our first Christmas without him.  The in-town sibs have been dealing with the everyday loss since then, my mom most of all.  But I’ve been able to push the thought to the back of my brain.  When I talk to Mom, I can fool myself; Dad just can’t come to the phone right now because he’s engrossed in a fascinating  PBS special in his den.  Being home for the first time since the funeral, there will be no getting around this new reality.

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I was in the bathroom today and looked up at the mirror, casually, and discovered I had smudged mascara all under one eye, like a 6-year-old playing with mommy’s makeup.

It reminded me of my Grandma Corrigan.   She was always dressed to the nines, as the expression goes, with full makeup, nice dresses (I never saw her in pants, not once my whole life) and frilly, frosty hats, usually pink.  The waitresses at the Big Boy, her favorite restaurant near her apartment when she moved up to our town from Detroit in her later years, used to call her The Pink Lady.

She never relaxed her standards.  As her eyesight started to go, she couldn’t see to apply makeup and she would have drifts of Coty face powder in Ivory Beige caking around her nose.  She didn’t know it.  The thought of that vulnerability makes me cry.

My mother’s favorite restaurant is now the Big Boy; it’s the one on the opposite side of town from her mother’s spot.  She sails in with her walker, but she doesn’t wear dresses or frilly hats.  Her makeup still looks good, foundation but no powder, and she has never worn mascara.  She doesn’t have to worry about it smudging all under her eye like her daughter does.

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What is it about this time of year that makes me so happy and yet, so sad?

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One of the best things about Christmas is the music.  I do not mean Michael Jackson  screeching “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.”  I grew up with the Jackson 5 and I love them.  But if I have to hear that song one more time, blaring every time I get in the car since most of the local radio stations who usually play classic rock abandoned that beloved format a month ago in favor of sloppy, self-indulgent mega-trilled covers of beloved Christmas classics done by modern singers. OK, Mariah Carey, you’ve got a hell of a vocal range.  I get that.  But do you have to land on every mother-lovin’ note in the scale for every mother-lovin’ note in the song?  Sing “Silent Night” like it was written, I BEG you!

I am talking about the music of Bing Crosby, Eartha Kitt singing “Santa Baby”, and especially “Sleigh Ride.” My dad has a green 33 record (kiddies, ask your parents what those are) of the Boston Pops playing Christmas songs.  When that record went on the record player and we heard those jingly bells and the whip crack at the end, it meant it was really Christmas time.  I mean he HAD a green record.  Damn.  This is going to be hard.

Anyway, I am wallowing in the glorious sounds which man has been inspired to craft to express his joy at the Savior’s birth.

I’ll leave you with John Rutter’s arrangement of “What Sweeter Music” for the King’s College Cambridge Singers.  It moves me to tears.

Hope this is a blessed, happy Christmas for all!

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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41 Responses to Ramblings: Christmas Edition

  1. susielindau says:

    Merry Christmas, Miss Peggles!

    You’ve inspired me to dig out my CD’s and play some faves today!

    It’s hard. We’ve lost so many family members in the last two years. I would find a gift bag with my little brother’s name on it (died in March) and break down. But, I’m recentering and like you, am done with the shopping in time to enjoy the festivities! Mom flies in tonight, my son tomorrow. The rest of the gang will be here on Saturday. I let myself “feel my feels” and hope most of the sadness is of my system so I can focus on the joyous and magical part of Christmas!

    Sending lots of Merry (((HUGS)))!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • pegoleg says:

      Great advice, Susie. We all have losses, but can’t let them diminish our joys.

      Congrats on the great WordPress shout-out. Top 10 for the year? You da-diggidy bomb!

      Have a fabulous Christmas!

      Like

      • susielindau says:

        I can’t switch off the triggers, but hope to be distracted by lots of sparkly things. There are a ton in my house and my family members are sparkliest of all!!!

        Thanks so much! I still can’t believe it, but will try to work it into my query letters somehow. It can’t hurt, right?

        Like

  2. toni596 says:

    I loved this…your Grandma Corrigan made my heart glad…

    Like

  3. Elyse says:

    What a lovely message, Peg. I hope while you’re home for Christmas, you can just imagine your Dad in the den, looking for that record. Because I’m sure that’s where he’ll be.

    Merry Christmas, and to all a good night!

    Like

  4. Heide says:

    I’m so sorry about your mom, Peg; I do hope the stories will flow as your family gathers and remembers, and that your happy memories will bring a few smiles. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a lovely Christmas — and for a happy and healthy new year, too.

    Like

  5. Al says:

    This is a touching Christmas post, Peg, Thank you for sharing it. As for the Christmas music, my kids still ask me to play the Ray Conniff Christmas album to this day, since I tortured them with it every Christmas while they were growing up. Who knew I was actually creating a tradition that they now love? Best to you and your family for Christmas and the New Year.

    Thanks so much for being my blogging buddy.
    Your pal, Al

    Liked by 1 person

    • pegoleg says:

      Isn’t that fabulous that you started something? Kids delight in their Christmas traditions, even when they become old, gray kids like us.

      Thank YOU and have a wonderful Christmas, my friend.

      Like

  6. Ivory beige. We had some of those – and the aging. The powdery drifts memories probably keep me with just sunblock-is foundation. (Melanoma runs in my family – unsettling, but if it helps most of my uncles lived past 98 – with those removed periodically once they were 50 or so…farmboys didn’t have sunblock.)
    Somehow this is the perfect holiday post as many of us share some of the incidents and memories.
    Nothing like real Christmas music – and that sharp whip crack to get you through, though. HUGS and Merry on!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s so true – nobody had sunblock back in the day. My dad grew up in Florida and had those basal and squamous cell deals burnt off his nose, ears and scalp so often in later years, he looked like he had polka dots.

      Hope you get everything on your wish list this Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Carrie Rubin says:

    Sorry to hear about your father. Your husband’s melanoma, too. Glad it was early stage. Guess it reminds us all the more to be grateful this holiday season. Merry Christmas to you and yours. 🎄🎄🎄

    Like

  8. I’m awfly sorry about your Da. All good wishes and condolences to your family. You guys are scattered all over God’s creation, aren’t you? I wonder how far away my daughters will move when the time comes?

    Is that the Caucasian version of the Ben Hur race?

    Merry Christmas ya ole’ rattlesnake. Many more. If you hear from Darla, tell her I said hello + happy holidays.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks m’dear. You raise kids to be independent and forge their own paths, but it’s a hell of a thing when they head off down those paths away from you.

      Darla seems to be AWOL lately. Don’t you hate when real life intrudes on blog life?

      Isn’t that a cool picture? According to Wikipedia that is the “picture print by Currier & Ives” that is mentioned in the song, Sleigh Ride.

      Have a great Christmas yourself!

      Like

  9. Jeannie Rupp says:

    Dear Peg, I had a little of the melancholy blues as I was going over the Christmas card list this year. We lost a few family members and a couple of close friends. We start thinking of our own mortality when that happens. So even though not on the same level, I can understand what you’re feeling. One of my old favorite songs at this time of year is when I hear Gene Autry singing Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer. My Mom still has the old record. It does bring back old memories of all of us kids helping Mom bake cookies and make rock candy while listening to our old Christmas records.. Merry Christmas to you and yours and safe travels. Jeannie

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Music is a time machine, I always say.

      Thanks, Jeannie. I’m sorry about your family members and friends. I know it’s part of the human condition, especially as we get older, but I sure wish it wasn’t.

      A fabulous Christmas to you and yours as well!

      Like

  10. MELewis says:

    A beautiful song indeed and a fitting conclusion to your moving post. What is it about Christmas? The reality never quite lives up to the memories we create and yet — well, there we are. So very sorry for your loss. May fond memories of your dear Dad bring you all closer at Christmas!

    Like

  11. Go Jules Go says:

    “The thought of that vulnerability makes me cry.” Gosh, do I ever know how you feel. I’m so sorry the holidays are especially bittersweet this year, Peggles. (I did smile to read that you’ve got both chickees with you. You have an amazing family!)

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks, Jules. I wish I had appreciated my grandmother more when she was here, and now to see my mom turning into her – it happens to all of us, doesn’t it?

      Hope this is a fantastic Christmas for you, Babs, Uncle Jesse and everyone you love!

      Like

  12. Touching post, Peg. I made the mistake of reading it while at school and had to stop when you mentioned our first Christmas without Dad. Got too emotional so had to wait to respond. Yes, it will be hard, as every visit since the funeral has been. I too, always think Dad will be coming home from his “job” at lunchtime. Then I remember. We must celebrate all the wonderful times we had while together. Love ya. Safe travels!

    Like

  13. Jim Richart says:

    Thank you Peg

    I’ve been able to dodge the thought of dad and his passing pretty much since the funeral…no more

    The memories he and Mom created at this time of year along with the cackle of siblings and their spouses are ones I will always cherish..
    And it is a reminder to strive to be half the man our father was…..a worthy goal

    Love you
    Jimbo

    Like

  14. k8edid says:

    I’m freezing in Michigan, and the empty chair is killing me, in the house we lived in for so many years. I’m trying to let the cherished memories sustain me, and I know that I was truly blessed, and still am. Enjoy your holiday, embrace those chickees Let that mascara run!!! Peace and love. Merry Christmas to you and yours,

    Like

  15. Margy says:

    Some years we have to dig deeper to have a Merry Christmas – but hope you find that place this year… and a happier New Year too. You certainly deserve it!

    Like

  16. lexiemom says:

    Merry Christmas, Peg!

    Like

  17. Merry Christmas Peg. I’m so sorry you’ll be having your first Christmas without your Dad. As sad as it is, be gentle with yourself when those weepy moments hit. (Both my folks are gone.) How wonderful you have family and close friends to spend time with. And thanks for the music. I love Christmas music. All of it.

    Like

  18. I hope you had yourself a very merry Christmas, Peggles!

    Like

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