Total Pageviews

Follow by Email

Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Ribbon

One of the most beautiful subtleties of Christmas is the way each year notches out a little nest in the timeline of our memories. It is one day each year we remember with great attention to detail. While we forget what we wore, or where we were, on Monday, March 14th or the third Thursday in August, we can recall details from past Christmases in great detail; like the texture of silk on our porcelain doll's pinafore and the way the ruffles of our Christmas dress chaffed our legs in the pew sitting next to Grandma at church. We recall the care we took to paint an awkward Rudolph that still finds his way onto your mother’s tree. We can remember hiding from the “stench” of lutefisk in the basement at our Great Aunt’s house; then later sitting with our noses pressed against the cool glass, our breath creating wreaths of fog on the window, watching for any sign of Santa’s sleigh. These memories float easily to mind each Christmas, arousing our senses and flooding our head and our heart with nostalgia and appreciation.
The timeline of our memory ceases to be ordinal. That ribbon of time holding memories of Christmases past bends, folding back and forth, back and forth, condensing time and allowing us to live Christmases past and present simultaneously. In this way, we are able to keep the spirit and traditions of family members that are no longer with us on Christmas Day very much alive.
This year, the Thoe cousins went caroling wrapped up in coats and cloaks that have been passed down from our mother’s, grandma’s and great aunties. To the surprise of our great aunts, we showed up at their door on Dec 23rd and sang through “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, followed by a funky version of "Joy to the World". We thought we sounded pretty good when we were breakin' it down... until we heard ourselves on video!  
In Oshkosh, we  shared a very poignant moment; one that will now be woven into the fabric of our Christmas memories for many years to come.  
December 14, 2011 my Uncle Leon passed away unexpectedly. Last Christmas was the worst I can remember, and yet it was a miracle in its own right. Leon's passing right before the holidays allowed the family to come together for an extended period during a very difficult time. We spent Christmas laughing at old stories, sharing our grief, comforting one another and healing. 

Christmas was his favorite time of year, and this year his big presence (and recipes) were notably absent from the festivities. Jim and Candy surprised everyone when they brought out 20 large lanterns after dinner. The roar of excitement that inevitably rumbles when the Luker clan is together calmed to a hush. We quietly filtered out of the living room into the backyard, through knee-deep snow out onto a little bridge all four of my uncles built for my grandparents’ four-wheelers years ago. Incidentally, the last time the whole family was together with Uncle Leon we took a picture on the very same bridge. We lit the lanterns and watched them sail out over the Luker farm.  At Leon's funeral each cousin placed an item that represented their favorite memories with Leon onto a fir tree. The tree was covered with fishing lures, arrows, camouflage, blaze orange, gun shells and cooking utensils. Last spring, the tree was planted near a four-wheeler trail overlooking a little meadow and the forest. The wind caught the lanterns and carried them directly over that little tree.
Had any children been watching with their nose pressed up to a window nearby, they would surely have mistaken the bobbing lanterns for Santa’s sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.            

1 comment:

  1. I love your writings, Amanda. You were always a talented, imaginative and exuberant child with a constant smile on your face that shined so bright in your eyes. You are still that wonderfully talented, imaginative and exuberant woman. Best of wishes to you and Drew in the new year. Drew, I loved the Christmas letter!