The day after Christmas, there was no rest for the weary. We had a full day scheduled and it started in Rockdale. This year would be significant in that this was the first Christmas without my grandmother. She passed away in October and memories of her passing are still very fresh. To my grandmother Christmas has always been about getting the family together and having a big meal. Truth is, she could care less about the presents. I think she ran to the dollar store the day before we would come over. You know how when you go to most places as a little kid for Christmas and the first thing you want to do is open presents? Well at grandma's, it was like lets eat, let's go play outside, let's do anything besides open presents. We never knew what we were going to get, but you could bet it was usually something we didn't want. Looking back, I know that was not a good thing to be thinking, espeically at Christmas, but it was usually true. When I was about 15, my grandmother started doing the "brown paper bag" gifts. She would fill each of the 5 grandkids a brown paper bag with "gifts" and write our names with a black sharpie and put them under the tree. How festive! When the time came, we'd each get our paper bag and cringe as we dug inside. Here are just a few things that wound up in those bags: 1) A half eaten bag of hot cheetos - why? my grandmother had bought them and didn't realize they were "hot". She didn't like them, but knew that one of my cousins liked hot foods so she put them in her bag! 2) one year my brother got one of those flashlights with an orange cone on the top, like the ones you see the guys use on airplane runways. Oh yeah, we had a lot of fun with that one! 3) bag of pecans - would have been ok if I had any interest in baking 4) porcelin cats - she knew we had a cat at home so thought I might like that?? 5) lots of randome dollar store items.
One year I swear she was just cleaning out her closets. I got an 11X18 picture of my mom from her senior year of high school. I guess she figured I might want to have it one day?? Oh and guess what Wes got one of his first Christmas's in Rockdale... a jackelope! It was a small plaque with a bunny with horns - I cried laughing! He didn't know how to react.
Looking back now, I can only laugh at those gifts and share the memories with my kids. Gifts weren't important to her, but family was. This year I missed walking through the door and seeing her in the kitchen. I missed her sassy remarks. Most of all I missed seeing her sitting in her recliner, right next to grandpa, watching us open our brown bags.
Grandpa Keen got a Snuggie for Christmas! A perfect gift for him!