Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Precious Memories

             The number is 67. That’s how many Christmases I have enjoyed. I grant you that I was not quite four months old when I experienced my first Christmas. Who knows what thoughts go through a baby’s mind when flooded with all of the sights, sounds, aromas and titillations of the senses that Christmas brings. Everything seems designed to attract the interest of the onlooker regardless of age.

The first born child is the one destined to indoctrinate the parents in all the joys and wonders of this new phase of life. Those children who follow are just as excited as their elder sibling, except the parents have seen it before.

So when we had our oldest, Laura, in August of 1978, I well remember her face as she simply stared at the Christmas tree, and particularly the low-hanging bulbs. Her little arm reached in a futile attempt to grab the pretty ball. As I enjoyed the moment, it dawned on me that the following year she would be sixteen months old, and we would have to be very diligent in keeping an eye on her.

Our first grandchild was Laura’s little girl, Alyssa. She was just a month old when we celebrated the Christmas of 2007. Our youngest, Jenny, had a little girl, Brooklyne, five months later, followed by a little boy, Colson, in January of 2012. So we’ve enjoyed being observers once again as these precious little ones experience the beauty of Christmas and all the festivities associated with it.

I’m not sure what it is about Christmas time and making cookies, but it certainly is one of my favorite things to do. Our church would have an annual mission’s auction where we would gather together as a congregation and bid on items that folks would bring in, much of which would be a vast array of goodies that were simply impossible to pass up. Not wishing to be outdone, I would make a large batch of cookies which I called, “Pastor Chuck’s World Famous Sugar Cookies.”

When our girls were old enough to hold an egg, we would have family night on Fridays which always included baking cookies. Now with three grandkids we get to do this all over again. Maybe not every Friday night, but we do it when they are here, especially if they are spending the night. I’ve already made ginger bread cookies with Alyssa a couple of weeks ago (delicious, of course). Isaura made a huge batch of cookies with her about a week ago that included bagging them to be given to friends, neighbors, and a host of other folks.

Tomorrow night (December 22nd) both Alyssa and Brookie will be staying overnight at our home which will include . . . baking cookies! It is so much fun to watch these two little ones put on their kitchen aprons, then drag out the step stool so they can reach the counter-top. Then they get all the ingredients out of the frig and cupboards. It takes nearly twice as long to prepare the cookie batter and then bake these yummy treats than if I did it all myself. But I’m reminded that my grandmother used to be very patient with me when we baked together – only she didn’t have a written recipe. It was all in her head (“a pinch of this, a dash of that”) which was called “cooking from scratch.” But I cherish those wonderful times with her.

After mixing all the ingredients together out would come the cookie sheets. The girls carefully measure a daub of dough from the bowl using two spoons, then measuring the spacing on the sheet. If they are sugar cookies then colorful sprinkles are liberally spread over the tops. The girls just love being creative in using the various toppings. The ten minutes of bake time always seems an eternity to them. They can’t wait to see their “creations.” The first cookie removed from the cookie sheet is carefully placed on a small plate and ceremonially presented by Alyssa and Brookie to Meema (my wife) as she is the queen of the home and should be the first honored with such a tasty gift. As you might expect not all of the offerings are as presentable as others, but we don’t care. This is memory time!

I want my grandkids to look back forty years from now during Christmas and smile, remembering the great times we had together baking cookies. My hope for them is that they will have little ones to enjoy at Christmas baking cookies, too!

It’s precious memories like this that make for a Merry Christmas in our home. May you and your family be richly blessed this Christmas!

God bless us, everyone!

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