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Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Christmas time is here
We’ll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year”

Plenty of Christmas childred-treehood memories float around my head this time of year. Like the several-year-stretch of purchasing flocked Christmas trees from Del’s Garden Center in Spencer, Iowa. Dad and Mom even bought a red flocked tree (around 1972, I think). It seems a heinous act, flocking a poor evergreen, but back in the ’70s it was the “in” thing to do and Del’s flocked Christmas trees like nobody’s business.  For those of you unfamiliar with the process, they basically stick the tree in a paint room on a stand that spins in a circle while a thick coating of foam-like, dyed flocking material covers every branch and needle. Instead of vacuuming up dried needles on New Year’s Day, we vacuumed red flocking attached to dried needles. It was stunning stuff.

One of my best Christmas memories involves Uncle Floyd and Aunt Evelyn. Floyd worked for my Dad who owned a machine shop and small-engine repair business. (Floyd and Evelyn were not actual relatives BTW). Floyd should have been retired, but Dad had a soft spot for Floyd who was a fountain of information when it came to mechanics.  The aged Floyd and Evelyn lived in a little town, Sioux Rapids, about 20 miles from our home. Each Thanksgiving and Christmas, we would collect them and host them for dinner. Evelyn made delicious caramel pecan rolls, and it would kill me to sit in the backseat of the car with those rolls waiting until we got home before I could indulge. A few years back, I began my own attempt in mimicking the creation of those pecan rolls. Both Floyd and Evelyn have passed away, so I turned to the Google and after trying a couple recipes and combining a few things, I landed on what I believe is a very close caramel pecan roll recipe that would make Evelyn proud. It’s a tribute of sorts to them both and the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners of my youth.

Some traditions fade away – while others remain or re-occur or begin. Gone are the days of flocked trees but those pecan rolls are back in my life. And my two kids, who practically peed their pants in anticipation of Santa’s secret visit and the  gifts he left them for Christmas morning, are teenagers. The excitement may be (mostly) in the past, but the spirit and intention that comes with spending time together making a dinner, playing cards or watching a movie remains anticipated and important.

Lead on!” said Scrooge. “Lead on! The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead on, Spirit!”
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

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This morning I read a blog post that asked readers to “name one thing that’s better today than it was when you were a kid.”

Hmmm. I was a kid in the late 1960s through 1983 when I celebrated my 18th birthday. Everything is better. That’s progress thanks to innovation.

Still, if I could name just one thing that is far and above better now than it was when I was growing up, I’d have to put how we access music at the top of my list.

Back in the day, when I wanted to purchase music, I headed down to one of three or four record stores in toney Spencer, Iowa. It was usually either the “head shop” store that smelled thickly of incense and was poorly lit, or the music store that not only sold records but instruments, sheet music, and metronomes. There I would let my fingers do the walking, flipping through the hundreds of vinyl albums in their well-designed album jackets, reading the liner notes and studying the photography. I relied on the clerks of these stores to tell me if, beyond the newly released single that was getting radio airplay, the album was worthy my $8 to $10.

Today, iTunes and Napster have altered how we access music. While I still purchase the occasional CD, I typically make my music purchase by the record or single on iTunes, download it to my computer and burn it to a CD that I can play in the car. In some cases, I can just plug in the iPod to the car’s audio system, simplifying music even further and making the CD obsolete.  I’m not even that technologically savvy, so I’m sure there are other ways to make the process even easier.

But the thing is, obtaining and listening to my favorite music is vastly better than it was back in the day and for that, I’m grateful.

Now it’s your turn. Name something in your life that is better today than it was when you were a kid.  Share your inputs here.

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