Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmastime.

Christmas time?

Christmastime?

Spellcheck isn't saying that there are requirements for two words there, but it's seemingly odd to have it that way. I don't know what it is, technically. But hey, whatever works.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

You know, if you know me by now, that I'm Jewish. I didn't celebrate Christmas with my family growing up. Extended family, for sure. But immediate? Nope.

And yet.

Experiencing a beautiful night of Christmas lights the other night. A visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus complete (people have started writing Clause, you know - and that's probably because of Tim Allen and his movies, but come on, people, isn't Santa's last name Claus? Even lil Jewish me knows that!).

Anyway, the other night after walking through - the music playing - and slam.

Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

Old school hilarious Christmas song. Song of my youth. Teasing and jokes and laughter and ...

Me?

In tears.

So maybe I'll say Merry Christmas, Pops. It was your favorite Christmas song even though you butchered the words every single time you tried to sing it. And we'd correct you. And you'd do it again. After a while it was intentional, and it became as hilarious as the song. As funny a tradition as listening to Christmas music this time of year.

How do I have Christmas memories with my dad?

I don't know. How is it that one year my father came downstairs during the exchange of Chanukah presents dressed in a red suit? He laughed. We laughed. It fit him well.

My father was the kind of man who made everyone smile.

Was he Santa? No, not quite.

And yet, he found a way. He had his ways.

One year on Christmas Eve my father and I drove from Brooklyn to Staten Island for Christmas Eve dinner with friends. It took us hours. HOURS.

I will never forget that drive. Ever.

Every year we talked about it. Somehow it came up. We sang the songs. Rudolph. Grandma. Jingle Bells. Whatever was on the radio because, I mean, come on, it was Christmas Eve and there was nothing else playing.

That ride was the longest drive we've ever had together. Okay, probably not the longest, but the longest with just the two of us. And there was no grumbling. No complaining. No cursing out the traffic. Just me and Pops, hanging on the Belt Parkway, Verrazano Bridge, Staten Island Expressway. Making our way to celebrating the holiday that wasn't even ours.

And yet.

Christmas memories with my dad.

Funny, isn't it? How time works.

How memories are sometimes the thing you have left and the thing you have to hold closest to your heart. How spending the holidays becomes watching your children and seeing their smiles and creating your own traditions and spreading the love love LOVE.

Miss you, Pops. Loads. We all do.


2 comments:

Tracie Nall said...

I'm thinking it is Christmas time. And it is most certainly Santa Claus.

But all that aside.

I love reading your memories of your father. It is so clear what a great dad he was, and what a special relationship the two of you shared. A blessing.

Sending you extra LOVE today.

Doreen McGettigan said...

I am not sure about Christmastime or Christmas time but yes, Claus is the correct name.
Oh my what beautiful memories of your Dad. Mine Dad was just diagnosed with brain cancer. Memories with him have been on my mind.
I grew up in North East Philadelphia. Our neighborhood was probably 50/50 between Catholics and Jewish and we all celebrated both holidays together. It was always amazing.
Happy New Year to you and your family!

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