Sunday, November 11, 2012

Memories...Of The Way We Were

The 2012 Holiday Season is here, and I'm sure that with its approach many of us are anxious about how we will be celebrating them. For great many of us, the memories of happy and carefree holidays past that were celebrated with our loved ones who for some reason or another are no longer with us. Some of these loved ones have gone from us by passing away; while others have moved on to a new life of some sort. Either way; they are no longer a vital part of our lives and for all intents and purposes have left us behind, and all too often their departure has left a huge void that even with the passing of time; has been hard to fill.

Each Thanksgiving Holiday brings back so many treasured memories of being a child growing up in my parents house. The delicious aromas of cooking filled our house, but what I remember most was not just the food aromas, but the house itself had a certain special smell all through it. This was an indescribable fragrance. It was created not only by pine scented decorations or pumpkin pie; I think it was the pure essence of love coupled with the unmistakable sweetness of my Mother that filled the air and made our house a home. My Mother was an excellent cook, and she always laid out a sumptuous spread fit for a king, even though the guests at our table usually consisted of my parents, my younger brother, and our grandparents...maybe an aunt and uncle or two. My Daddy loved the holidays. Absolutely loved them! He would start to stake out a Christmas tree for us right after Halloween was over, and from that time on he was as happy as a child anticipating Christmas.

For Thanksgiving, he would help Momma out in the kitchen by chopping the veggies or the "goodies" as she called them to go into the stuffing and the potato salad. He would joke around with her and tease her so much until finally she had to banish him from her domain in order to get her cooking done. I would be watching the parades on television, reading a magazine or maybe listening to records while they were working in the kitchen and I could hear them talking, laughing, and just loving the closeness they shared simply by being together. She would put him in charge of the turkey from the moment she put the big bird in the oven until it was time to set it on the table as the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving Day meal. There was a certain comfort and a feeling of well-being just knowing that my parents were happy and we were together as a family and most of all that soon I would be eating one of the best meals in the world!!

Both of my precious parents have been gone for a long time...twenty seven and twenty five years as of this year. But although time by the grace of God has healed the wound, and has dulled the pain the void they left can never be filled. Sometimes it seems as if it were only yesterday that I sat at my Mother's table in her warm and cheery kitchen. Sometimes it seems as if I never sat there at all. I am not alone in this experience or this feeling. Anyone who has been orphaned or widowed has felt the enormous pain of loss and has looked at the future ahead of them as bleak and lonely at one time or another. Life as we had known it...has ceased to exist.

I remember my Mother not only at holiday times, but when I'm singing a particular song, or looking at old family photos. I believe that I can still smell her essence when I close my eyes and think hard enough.  When I see her in family photos, I can go back in time mentally and recollect the exact thing she was doing in some of those photos. I can see my Daddy laughing, dancing a little jig when he'd had a little sip or two and see him at the kitchen stove frying bacon for breakfast. I remember him coming home from work tired and dirty from working on automobiles all day. Later when he'd had a job promotion, I recall him as a sales person in a local hardware store...charmingly assisting customers with their purchases. And giving me lunch money on my way to work even after I had become all grown up. many memories! They can comfort, they can make me laugh until I cry, and make me cry until I laugh. I dream of them both quite often. In my dreams they are speaking, but although I can see their faces and discern their features distinctly; I can hardly remember the sound of their voices. But that's okay; they echo off of the walls of my soul and they resound deep in my spirit. Here are the two places where their voices will never be without sound.

I would love to recreate those kind of holidays, but even though I have tried with my own family it just doesn't feel the same. Maybe its because I'm not the same. I'm too different now and too much time has passed with me being on my own. I'm not sure if I'd know how to relate to anyone else at this point in my life. I lose myself in the past sometimes. When I'm anxious, lonesome or feeling blue I go there...back to the little frame house where I spent most of my growing years and I'm safe and taken care of.

I can hear the television with the sound of "Gunsmoke" or "Rawhide" westerns playing and my Daddy is sitting in his easy chair in front of the set, totally immersed in his favorite shows. My Momma is in the kitchen washing dishes and there's cake leftover from dinner sitting on the sideboard. My younger brother is playing with his trains in his room, and I'm sprawled across my bed in my room leafing through an "Archie" comic book. And I remain here until I feel as if its safe to come back to reality, and when I do I feel stronger and more able to accept and to cope. Until its time to go back again.

Memories...of the way we were.


elle said...

May those sweet, vivid memories continue to comfort you!!

Wiladene Keen said...

Thank you elle...for being a loyal fan!