When I was a kid, I loved family celebrations. I loved getting together with my cousins, who were also friends, aunts and uncles and grandparents and spending time, eating, playing, chatting and just having fun.
Of course, I was just a kid and didn’t know the kind of work it took to get ready.
When I was very young, we lived in Old Ford in a house with my dad’s parents, so most celebrations took place there.
All my dad’s family lived close-by, and the three brothers all worked together, so we saw them fairly often. Aunt Phyllis and her kids just lived a few streets over, so of course, they were always there.
Some of my earliest memories are of Christmas Eves, when we’d all dress up in our new Christmas clothes. Everyone would come to Grandmother’s. Of course, that was also where Granddad, Dad, Mom, Debbie and I lived, but on Christmas Eve, it was Grandmother’s.
Grandmother always filled her table so full of wonderful desserts and candies and sweets, sweets, sweets, the wood practically groaned. Oh, and punch. Every year we had delicious punch. 🙂 I’m fairly certain Mom and the aunts prepared some of the food, but to a little girl of three or four, it seemed as if it all just magically appeared.
Grandmother and Granddad gave a gift to each of their kids, their spouses and their grandkids that night. And each family gave a gift to them.
I have no idea when or how that tradition started, but it lasted until the day Grandmother died.
4th of July celebrations I liked best were spent at my dad’s brother’s house. Uncle Frank lived on the farm, so we were out-of-town. I don’t remember what we ate, but we were outside. We might have had a weenie roast and probably had watermelon. I’m fairly sure there were desserts and sweets and, of course, strawberry pop.
Can’t have 4th of July without strawberry pop.
And there was always a big fireworks celebration. Nothing professional, of course. Just a bunch of kids, shooting off bottle rockets and such.
Of course, we spent many holidays together with Mom’s family, too. Thanksgivings. Christmas Days.
A couple of my uncles on Mom’s side moved to Colorado when I was small, and one was in the army for a while (several were in during World War II, but I don’t remember quite that far back) so whenever they came home, no matter when it was, we celebrated!
And the best part? The no-matter-where-we-were-I-loved-it part?
Getting to see family. Spending time with people who shared my history. Listening to the stories they told on each other and about others.
Of course, many of those special people have passed on. That’s part of life.
But can you imagine the celebration we’ll have when we all get to Heaven? I’m not sure the Bible backs me up on this (if it does, please tell me!) but I think after the first millenium or two of the hoorah, I get to be with Jesus heart-to-heart and face-to-face spectacular,
we’ll have a great big, both sides of the family celebration with grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, including those we’ve only heard about in family stories and legends.
And right there, in the middle of that celebration, there’ll be a table, groaning under the weight of the goodies Grandmother used to make.