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The MOST wonderful time of the year…

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Nana--the most BEAUTIFUL name in the world! MY Nana was the MOST special person in my life!

Isn't she BEAUTIFUL!!!! This is probably what she looked like in 1961 when I was born.

When my mother was 23, she got pregnant with me, and 2 months later her father died of a massive heart attack. My grandmother was only 52, her husband was HER world, and she grieved much for his loss! Naturally, when I was born, my grandmother made 'much ado' over me, and I was the glad recipient of her attentiveness, affections, and abounding gifts of time. She was my teacher, confidant and friend, and I miss her ESPECIALLY this time of year, or as she taught...the most wonderful time of the year.

CHRISTMAS! Ahhhh, the very word conjures up nostalgic memories that encompass my world!

CHRISTMAS! During this cherished season, I relish every memory from my Nana bustling about the kitchen; to the old, classic turntable playing Grandpa's [my grandmother remarried when I was 8 years old] favorites from Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole; to the crackling of the fires; to the many craft projects; to *even* the smell of my grandfather's pipe or cigar! If I close my eyes, I can feel the crisp air, and anticipation in our young hearts, as we waited for the Chistmas Light ceremony where my grandfather would give a speech, and WELCOME the holiday with the ONE row of outdoor Christmas lights illuminating their house! ha! You would have thought we had NOTHING on the Kansas City Plaza's season of LIGHTS event!

CHRISTMAS! I'm SO thankful that my Nana taught me to love and embrace traditions. I started Christmas traditions BEFORE Nicholas could talk! :-) One very special tradition we embraced was the COOKIE event of the year! Out came the recipes, aprons and tins--dozens and dozens of cookies and dozens of DIFFERENT **kinds** of cookies. My grandmother LOVED cookies, and of course, her granddaugther followed suit! Mmmmmm, I can smell the sugar cookies, date balls, spritzes, fudge, divinity, and the list goes on and on.

My grandfather worked for a theatrical advertising company, and he would get the 'reel tins' that movies came in for free. We would carefully place all our baked cookies [treasures] in these tins--we probably had at least 20 different varieties. THEN the DAY would come--we would make our yummy 'love plates' for the nursing home residents and shut-ins. Oh, it was SO fun! We would put the 'plain type' cookies on the bottom, and then the beautifully decorated cookies on top. We would wrap them in cellophane wrap and then decorate each plate with ribbon. They looked BEAUTIFUL!

And THIS is how my heart felt as we wrapped up in our coats, hats, scarves and mittens and headed on the road to make our deliveries…

I was BURSTING at the seams!

CHRISTMAS! The awe and appreciation on the faces of those elderly recipients is still firmly etched in my memory--so thrilled by my Nana's culinary skills! Her listening ears to each of their physical ailments and woes wasn't UNnoticed by the little girl watching her every move. She was and will forever be my hero!

CHRISTMAS! Now she celebrates every year in heaven! Oh, for ONE more CHRISTMAS **with** her, and yet somehow every year, the day after Thanksgiving, I can sense her presence. And this year, it's ESPECIALLY meaningful to me because my grandmother taught me that Christmas is more than the ornaments and tinsel on the tree; more than the gifts given and received; more than the music and the parties--Christmas is in the HEART, and you don't need money or possessions to take pleasure in this holiday! I TREASURE all the things that she taught me, but most of all, I'm grateful that my grandmother taught me about Jesus--the TRUE reason for the season! Thank you, Nana, for the richness of my heritage!

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