Christmas Memories

Memories of Christmas past return this cold clear Texas morning. Most of them are of the early years in the lives of my children when we lived in the country outside the town of New Iberia, Louisiana. The Bayou Teche ran along our backyard. One particular year I had three Christmas trees, one on the front porch, one in the living room and one in the children’s play room. I don’t exactly remember decorating all those trees or where they came from except they were all real trees. I think one of them was a Scotch pine in a planter. My daughter reminded me that I decorated the entire house with spangles, live garlands and shiny ornaments. I do recall working for a year on a Christmas tree skirt that had sequined trains which I had painstakingly glued. Since my family always opened gifts on Christmas Eve, I continued that tradition adding a Louisiana twist. With a professional Santa Claus suit I convinced a friend of my husband Raleigh’s to dress in it and come walking up the yard from the bayou with a huge bag filled with gifts for my children. They believed. Today with the information blitz, children are no longer filled with awe and wonder. My seven year old grandson assured me that he could not believe in a fat man riding a sleigh filled with presents for all the children in the world across the sky pulled by flying reindeer and delivering them in one night. What could I do but agree, adding with all the seriousness I could muster, that there once was a man with the characteristics of Santa Claus who was jolly, kind and giving and he was the source of the legend that grew from his generosity. That he believed and so do I.