It was a Good Christmas

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, December 30, 2023

Remember, when young, how Christmas was so slow in coming and, then, the actual day was a blur of activity that began with getting up early and asking, “Has Santa come yet?”

            There was no care taken to unwrap the presents carefully. Just rip that paper off that package of new underwear or sox. Stockings, at my house, were full of tangerines or oranges and that was special. Citrus fruit was not available all year as it is now. The Florida groves were abundant with citrus trees; now replaced by housing developments and theme parks that stretch for hundreds of miles.

            On actual Christmas Day, we were fortunate to have both sets of grandparents and we rotated the main meal of the day between the two. Whichever set got the Thanksgiving meal, the other would get the Christmas feast. The other set would host the family in the late afternoon or evening. Oh, yes, we’d eat again and, thankfully, I was young and thin enough in those days of long ago to be able to handle two big Christmas meals.

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            Now, as Christmas Day in Panama City Beach, Donna Sue and I found that the Golden Corral restaurant was open for business from 10:30 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. And, oh boy, did they do the business!

            In the old days, for Thanksgiving and Christmas, southern cornbread dressing would serve as my “go to” dish. It still is, but the dressing at the Golden Corral was a poor substitute for Granny’s. They probably did their best, but cooking dressing for a thousand people can never be made with the loving care that Granny had for her family.

            A couple more things about Christmas Day’s visit to the restaurant. The first was the cost. The buffet cost more than all the gifts I would have gotten sixty years ago. I won’t blame it on Bidenomics. It was capitalism at its finest.

            The other thing is that I am no longer as young and thin to eat as much as I did. After paying what could be likened to a mortgage payment, I felt like I had to get my money’s worth. What’s that old saying, “My eyes were much bigger than my stomach!” Think misery and you will be thinking exactly how I felt.

            We drove home, waddled into the house and lay down like Goldilocks in the Wee Little Bear’s bed and fell soundly asleep.

            When we awakened, we visited the family next door. Donna Sue has made good friends of the family and she wanted to see how they had enjoyed Christmas. They invited us in and it looked like one of those familiar Florida hurricanes had blown through the house, but a hurricane it wasn’t, Just Christmas!

            It may be the year of our Lord 2023, but this family was enjoying Christmas as if it were long ago. The toys were different and much more “high tech.” Little cars and trucks were operated by remote controls and the vehicles, themselves, seemed to be turning cartwheels. But, they were being enjoyed just as wonderfully as my brother and I did our Roy Rogers cap pistols.

            Mother and Daddy seemed worn out and we didn’t stay too long. The quiet of our own house was to be relished. I would have to say that the world is not the same as when I was growing up in that simple past, but there are some things about Christmas that haven’t changed.

            Excited and happy children. Good food. Loving and tired parents. And the thought that it still is a very special day. Thank you, Lord, for the good Christmas.