Monday, July 18, 2011

Christmas in July (so to speak)

A re-do from my former blog--July 2008

I love Christmas in July sales.  I love Christmas in general, so this post is timely enough.;)  In my last post, I talked about how summer reminds me of my paternal grandparents. My maternal grandparents make me think of Christmas, and, in my opinion, there's no inappropriate time to talk about Christmas! :)

Grandma and Grandpa K. lived in the same small town in Ohio as my paternal grandparents (see last post).  They were completely different people, but equally dear to me.  Grandma was an artist and had been quite a knock-out in her youth.  She played the organ in church and had a flair for entertaining.  I love to hear my mom's stories about how, when she was a child, Grandma would painstakingly prepare for each event, especially at Christmas.  For days, she would have the kitchen all set up with her supplies and ingredients and make all kinds of special cookies and other treats to entertain her guests, or give away during the holidays.

I remember driving up to their house on snowy winter's nights at Christmas time, and there was a sign they put up in their front yard each year.  It probably said, "Merry Christmas" and had a picture of an angel or something on it.  What I remember the most are the colored lights around the edges of the sign, and how the crisp, white snow reflected those lights in a faded, fuzzy kind of way. Oh how I WISH I had a photo of it to share with you. I know there's at least one somewhere.  I thought I had it but I seem to have been mistaken.  I probably have seen it among my parents' huge collection of photos.  The sign was simply welcoming.  And the inside of the house was so pretty, always tidy and nicely-decorated.

Now, this is going to probably sound weird, even for me, lol, but I LOVED the smell of Grandma's paper towels!  Oh, my goodness!  That sounds so funny to me, but it's true!  I don't know if it was a certain brand, or if they were stored in a closet that had a certain smell, but the smell was to die for!  I'm absolutely serious about that.

Grandpa.  Oh, that Grandpa of mine!  He always called me "Hot Shot," though I have no idea why!  He was very talented with wood.  My mom has many of the pieces of beautiful furniture, including a wonderful grandfather clock, he made in his woodworking shop in the basement of his house.  Grandpa's workshop was mysterious and off-limits because of the dangerous tools and all.  But I do remember him taking me down there at least once and feeling grown-up and important because I got the grand tour.

Grandpa was almost bald and one time, when I was just a tiny girl, we were sitting around the table after lunch, and I asked him why he didn't have much hair.  A completely innocent question at the time, but he pretended he was mad at me for asking.  Problem was, I wasn't discerning enough to know he was kidding!  So at first I thought he was seriously miffed.  I learned at an early age not to comment to a man about any shortage of hair he may have!

After Grandpa died when I was 8, Grandma came to live in an apartment about a mile away from our house in suburban Chicago.  Her apartment always seemed immaculate and I loved to stay overnight at her place.  She let me use her Oil of Olay, which I thought was big stuff, and she always had Kraft caramels in her cupboard, for visiting granddaughters, don't you know.  One night I inadvertantly offended her when she asked me to spend a Friday overnight with her.  I said, "Only if we can watch Donny and Marie."  I mean, you know, as far as I knew at that point, Donny was my future husband, and I needed that hour's time with him and, well, his sister.  After all, I was going to replace Marie as his singing partner so I needed to know the songs and the dance moves.  Um, yeah.  Anyway, Grandma was rather hurt that I was choosing Donny over her and I don't blame her.  I felt really bad, but I did sleep over.  I can't remember if we ended up watching the show or not.

As I grew a little older, Grandma and I didn't always see eye to eye.  We were both stubborn, and I don't really remember what we argued over.  But I do remember one night when she spent the night at our house, and I got so mad at something she said, I hung one of her bras on the Christmas tree!!!  Oh, yes, I could be a brat!  You'd better believe it.  Thankfully, I have learned more appropriate ways of dealing with conflict.

I can't believe I just confessed that.

Bless her heart.  Grandma sure had her sorrows.  But she passed down a legacy of hospitality and humor.  Gosh, my mom can make a bunch of different dishes for a holiday meal and have everything done at the same time, an art I have not yet mastered!  Mom's not quite so much into the fancy stuff like Grandma was, but she can make anywhere feel like home, and that's what it's all about!  And laughter?  Mom talks about how her parents would laugh and laugh at some of the old variety shows on TV.  And I remember like it was last year my grandparents laughing in delight at one thing or another.  The next generations sure like to laugh, too!  Humor is such a gift.  God is good!

BTW, thanks so much for your sweet comments re:  my last post about my other set of grandparents.  I'm so pleased that my post inspired happy and contemplative memories for some of you about your own grandparents.  Oh, my word!  Grandparents probably have no idea what they bring to the table, their wonderful influence on those precious grandkids.  I doubt my grandparents had a clue how much they meant to me, the memories they supplied me and the impact they had on my life.  I probably wasn't very good at articulating that.  To all the grandparents out there (I know some of y'all are grandparents and others will be someday):  Your grandkids LOVE your time and attention!  What a wonderful opportunity to influence their lives for the good, to teach them what you know, to help keep family traditions alive.  Redeem the time!  You are NEEDED!  You are PRECIOUS!  You are LOVED!!  You are APPRECIATED!!

This concludes my two-part series on grandparents.  ha ha


  1. We celebrate Christmas in July too- I've been looking forward to it all month! :)

    I loved reading about your grandparents... and laughed about the paper towel smell... but mostly about the bra on the Christmas tree!!! :D

  2. nice blog... have a view of my blog when free.. (A Growing Teenager Diary) .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...


I love knowing what's on your heart and mind! Your thoughts, opinions, questions and ideas are welcome here anytime. Differences are respected as long as they are written respectfully! :)