I love the crisp air, the ice shimmering on the tree branches, the songs of good cheer and Christmas greetings and fortunately there are a few radio stations who have been playing non stop since Thanksgiving. I was most disappointed when I went grocery shopping over the weekend and no Christmas songs being played. I find myself more and more in conversations with those of my era talking of how it was and how we miss those days. One lovely memory that I quite often reflect on is a simple one. Nothing profound, nothing super outstanding, but a memory that touches my heart deeply.
I remember one December afternoon after school (high school ... many years ago ... ok, we're talking about 45 plus years ago) and my girlfriend and I walked downtown to do some Christmas shopping. Did you catch that - we walked! How far? I would say a few miles. We did that then, didn't think much of it. Pounding the pavement, most generally, that's how we got around. The main thoroughfare, of course appropriately named Broadway, was where the department stores were; the main shopping district ... Sears and Robuck, Fishmans, Woolworths - the original five and dime, lots of small shops, two movie theaters, restaurants. The street was decorated with lighted garland strung across the street at each lamp post or pole, a wreath on each side, for the entire length of the street. A few years ago the city started decorating again but not to the degree of earlier days. It was so festive, so beautiful, so Christmas.
A few doors before Sears and Robuck was Texas Weiners. I don't think there's a person for miles around that didn't know Texas Weiners. They had the most amazing hot dogs and chilli sauce. As soon as you hit downtown the aroma of that sauce was in the air. You could not go shopping without stopping for a weiner ... the scent filling the cold air just sucked one right in. It was all part of the holiday, it was part of our Christmas. One thing I do not remember is what purchases we made, there must have been something because gift shopping was what we were doing, but that's not what I remember.
I remember the crisp, chill of the air, the twilight and then the darkness coming making the Christmas lights so bright and bold and cheery. I remember the bell of the Santa at the corner and people stopping to chat with him. I remember hearing over and over again the words "Merry Christmas" ... in the stores, on the street. The hustle, the bustle, the chatter among the shoppers. I remember being able to walk the streets, just the two of us and there was no fear.
We walked back up Broadway almost as far as we had come down to where my father worked. It had begun snowing as we started back. It was almost magical, the waterglobe like snow, the lights, the sounds of the season. It was like a scene out of a movie. It was a long time ago, a time that was quieter, a time where two highschool girls without a care in the world but to notice the beauty of the season and not knowing then that some day those moments would so reflect the blessings of Christmas.
I wish you the blessings of the season,
the blessings that only Christmas can bring.