A family tradition

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On Sunday afternoon, two days before Christmas, two daughters, one granddaughter, and I got together to bake Christmas cookies, a family tradition that for me goes w-a-a-a-y back to when I was a child. Many years ago (mid-20th century), Christmas cards, cookies, caroling for neighbors, and a candlelight worship service on Christmas Eve were traditional holiday events for our family.  Special cookies…huge tins filled with them, provided enough sweet treats for all to enjoy over the holiday visit. My sisters and I, along with our families, would drive back to our parents’ home in southeastern Pennsylvania. There we celebrated Christmas together, singing, worshiping, baking, sharing stories, and more. We were very blessed, and we knew it. It was part of the glue that held our family together, despite the many miles that separated us.

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My childhood home

If that sounds like I’m getting old, I’ll claim the years, and, along with the years, I’ll claim the many warm and wonderful memories…and give thanks for them. Bob and I still exchange holiday cards, attend candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and last week I joined members and friends of our church choir as we went caroling for guests at local nursing homes, giving each guest a teddy bear as evidence of the love we want them to feel.

 

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Choir & friends
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Cathy’s mom with her teddy bears

However, cookie tins filled with special cookies, most of them baked only at Christmas time, was our mother’s tradition, a tradition we had dropped from our busy schedules when our parents passed on, and the family home was sold. Now my sisters are gone and none of our  children live in southeastern Pennsylvania. I am left with the precious memories of those Christmas trips to southeastern Pennsylvania and a few niggling questions:

Why did we ever stop our Christmas baking? Overly diet conscious? Busy lives? Too much shopping and wrapping? Mixed up priorities?  Whatever were we thinking? A revival of the tins-full-of-cookies-tradition was long overdue! Two years ago, Becky and Alison decided to revive it, and this week we all had a wonderful time during our second annual cookie baking session, and, as a bonus, we each went home with a tin of cookies! Granddaughter Emmy was the force behind this year’s baking session, and her Aunt Becky provided the kitchen, as well as the two dogs who kept their eyes (and noses) on the proceedings. I had a great time taking photos. Take a look!

Do you have a special holiday-time tradition? One that is the glue that holds you and your family and friends together? If you do, please tell us about it in the comments, but if your special tradition needs a revival, I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
~Trail Walker

Was I ever that young?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Snapshot Stories.”

The prompt instructed me to find a photo album and write a post about the first picture of myself that I found in the album. I don’t know if it is cheating or not, but, after looking through some old albums, I amended the prompt to read, “…find the oldest picture of yourself and write a post about it.” This (unretouched) photo,  the oldest picture I could find of myself, sent me wandering down memory lane. Most of my photowalks are recent walks on the trails in my favorite parks, but if, for a change, you want to wander with me off the beaten path, read on.

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The back story:

During my growing-up-years, my father was the family photographer, and this picture, since digitized, was found in one of his albums. I was in high school when this was taken, and at that time, the ukulele was enjoying a lot of popularity in the U.S.  I think it may have been Arthur Godfrey (anyone remember him?) who was responsible for its popularity. Anyway, I was a “ukulele wannabe.” I probably learned three or four chords before I realized I was never going to make it to stardom on The Arthur Godfrey Show, but this photo of me, snapped in the corner of my teenaged bedroom, is proof that I was once that young, actually owned a ukulele, and had aspirations of musical fame and fortune.

Arthur Godfrey is long gone, so are my parents, and I have no idea what happened to the ukulele after I left home, but just looking at this old photo brings back memories of the much younger person I once was and gives me a warm-fuzzy-happy-feeling.  I have a smile on my face as I write this. I am so glad Daddy saved this photo. It must have meant something to him too, and I wish I could share it with him today.

Thanks for looking at this “way-off-the-trail” blog post. Maybe you could find an old picture of yourself and take a photowalk down memory lane.

Carolyn aka Skip

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