17 December 2008

Christmas Trees and pigs

I probably won't post much on the state of the Anglican Communion for the rest of this year unless something really amazing happens.

Instead, I'm going to post a series of Christmas memories. The posts will be just for me, but that's the privilege of having one's own blog - right?

It's getting close to the time to put up the tree. For me, any day after Luciadag is acceptable, but I prefer to put it up on Christmas Eve. Putting the tree up always makes me think of Christmases past and of people long departed this life.

One of the reasons I like to decorate the tree is because each thing on my tree has a very significant history and meaning. I even have a wee broken porcelain pig. It was given to me by Marie Waller an elderly Swedish friend.

When Marie was a little girl her next door neighbour was an old Swede whose son had died when he was only three years old. That pig had been his favourite toy. When the woman was near death, she asked Marie to keep the pig for her and her son.

And Marie did for the next seventy-four years. One Christmas tide I commented on that pig and how cute it was. Marie told me the story and said,
Jim, I've been wondering for years who would take care of that little boy's pig -- my family will throw everything away and they don't care about old things or dead people.
She took the pig off the tree and gave it to me and asked me to keep it for the boy, his mom, and for her. Each year I put the pig on my tree and say a prayer for the unknown boy and his unknown mother. And for the past two years, for Marie, too, who is now in the Church Triumphant.

I wonder why Christmas makes us more lonesome for times past and people no longer with us. At Easter I don't miss those people; even Thanksgiving doesn't stir the emotional cauldron like Christmas does. But for some reason, each Christmastide, I want to be a child again and have all those wonderful people (and even the not-so-wonderful people) around like it used to be. What is that poem --- Oh, yes, Rock Me To Sleep:

Backward, turn backward, O Time in thy flight
Make me a child again, just for tonight
Mother, come back from the echo less shore
Take me again to your heart as of yore.

Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair
Over my slumber your loving watch keep, ---
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep

Mother dear mother the years have been long
Since I last hushed to your lullaby song
Sing them and unto my sole it shall seep
[All of the years are like just a dream]

Backward, oh backward, Time in your flight
Make me a child again, just for tonight.
Come from the silence so long and so deep,
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep

I cut out the most morbid parts of the poem. Perhaps the Christmas memories are so strong and vivid because we have erased the bad memories, and focus only on the good things. "The good old days" that weren't so good, really, when people sat around and talked about "the good old days."

I guess it's time watch "A Christmas Story" and remember the good and forget the bad like the time I stuck plugged in power cord into an apple and took a bite of it apple. Knocked me across the living room floor on my rear! Scared the HELL out of my mom and dad. I wonder, how did THEY survive my growing up!?

Ah, yes, the good old days.

PS I have a LOT of silver strands in my hair, you just don't know it because I've been dying it for about ten years. Who says men aren't vain?