Today’s post was on its way to my blog when I made the mistake of asking Gayle and my daughter Shannon to read it. I thought it was funny and appropriately sarcastic, shedding light on the sea of insanity that we swim in these days. Their impression was that it was “in poor taste,” so I deleted it.
Believe me, I struggle with writing what I really want to write about regarding politics, social issues and our moral decline, but I also realize that people don’t need more negative stuff and if I step over the line, my wife will remind me.
I run these posts past her, since she is a woman and many readers are women. What my buddies and I think is funny may offend others. So Gayle said, “Why don’t you write something nice about Christmas.” We still call it “Christmas.”
In a quick response to her request, I thought back on a Christmas that stands out in my memory. As you know, the olfactory section of the brain is most closely related to memory. Smell brings back images faster than any other sense.
When I open my trumpet case, I smell the familiar odor of valve oil and brass. That fleeting smell always reminds me of when I was a kid opening my first cornet case under the Christmas tree. I was only six years old, but I’ll never forget that smell.
Of all the gifts I received, that old horn stands out as the most memorable. That memory lingers today. Man, I wish I still had that cornet.
A cornet differs from a trumpet in that it is more conical, which produces a softer, warmer sound. I have a couple of flugelhorns that go even further in that “mellow” direction.
Christmas with the Higgins family was always centered on the birth of Jesus. In our travels, Gayle and I have noticed that this event is sometimes celebrated more in third world countries than it is here in the
Santa Claus also played a roll when I was a kid. My dad always dressed up as Santa and, with only the lights from the Christmas tree gently lighting the scene, he would quietly enter the living room with a bag of gifts.
My brother Tom and I, along with my mother and others, would watch the scene unfold from hiding places just feet away from Santa. Our hearts beat like jackhammers and we tried our best not to make noise. It was something that Tom and I will never forget.
Tom and I both carried on the tradition for our own kids, with the same Santa suit. Now it’s the grandkids turn. The sad part of the story is that I used to wear a pillow for a stomach. Tom still does, but for years I’ve had trouble buttoning the suit without padding.
Christmas memories conflict so dramatically with what passes as Christmas today that I don’t get involved in the commercial aspects of it anymore. We do our best to see family and friends, but avoid smiling snowmen. In fact, Gayle and I once spent the holiday season on a cruise and Christmas day in
Costa Rica to
avoid the frenetic activities that have replaced the real “reason for the
When you subtract Christ from Christmas, what is left - a gift list, frantic shopping, depleting budgets, guilty reciprocations, a red-nosed reindeer, and colored lights?
As far as Gayle’s suggestion this morning to write about Christmas memories, all I need to do is open my old trumpet case and get a quick whiff of valve oil and brass. That always does it.