The Only Thing Inevitable

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Things change; there’s just no getting around it.

I remember Christmas when I was little.  Sneaking with my brother Byron into the front room where Mama had worked to make everything appear magical – twinkling lights, new toys, stockings full of good things to eat.  Where did she find those PERFECT oranges and apples?  Did she just make sure to never buy them that looked that good the rest of the year so that these would be so special?

I remember going to Grandmama and Granddaddy’s house for Christmas with the extended family, playing with my cousins, eating a delicious meal, opening gifts from whoever drew our name, plus at least one other from our grandparents.  The day was always long and full of loud fun and love.  I remember leaning my head back in the back seat of the car, looking at the bright stars through the rear window on the way home, thinking they looked extra bright and beautiful this night compared to all other nights – magical.  I thought the pretty lights on our Christmas tree were magical too.  I even sang “Oh Christmas Tree” to it when no one was looking.

After Grandmama died, Christmas at Grandmama and Granddaddy’s was over.  Just like that.  The very next Christmas.  I didn’t understand—Granddaddy was still there.  But my mother and her siblings all had grandkids of their own now, so . . . I guess it was just time for everyone to change to doing “the big Christmas thing” with these families.  We still went to visit Granddaddy of course—we just never all gathered together at the same time in the same place for Christmas anymore.

And so we did that.  And that too has changed over the years.  In-laws have come (and sometimes gone.)  Children have been added, and then grown up.  Over the years we’ve gone from everyone buying something for everyone else, to drawing names for real gifts, to drawing names for cheap silly gifts and then stealing them from each other.  We still haven’t tried Paul’s suggestion yet—that we all just bring a $20 bill, and stand up in a circle and hand ours to the person next to us.  But gifts have taken on a lesser meaning, and a smaller bite out of our budgets.  It’s the being together that has really always mattered the most.

Magic is a hard thing to hold on to.  I can do without it.  But family is worth a tighter grip.

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About dahnajeen

I'm Donna Jean Hunter. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Patterson told me I was a great writer and would be an author when I grew up. She always had me read my stories to the class, and even took me around to the other classrooms to have me read to them. I'm pretty sure the other kids all hated me that year. I don't care though. I love Mrs. Patterson. Of course she did not know then about the Internet and blogging and how much of what people read would no longer be on paper when I grew up. I have had a few things published in a college literary journal, and once, for a few weeks--until it threatened to kill me with boredom and I quit--I actually received pay for working as a technical writer. But so far, I have not been able to say that I'm a writer in the sense that it is what I do for a living. I still sort of dream of that happening one day. But in the meantime, I teach high school English, and can't stop being a writer whether anyone reads it or not. I hope someone enjoys some of it.
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4 Responses to The Only Thing Inevitable

  1. andi says:

    Makes me teary reading about Christmas at Grandmama & Grandaddy’s. You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

  2. D.J. Hunter says:

    Yep. That first big change in tradition was a shock for me. As the years go by and changes continue, I am no longer surprised, but expect the changes. Doesn’t mean some of them aren’t still painful though.

  3. sheila1275 says:

    I think Paul is a freaking genius!!!!!!

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