Like many houses throughout the world, my home has been undergoing a transformation this past week. I’ve not pulled out all my Christmas decorations in several years due to travel and putting a house on the market but this year we’re settled in our new house and our grandchildren will be here so no surface is safe!
All of it makes me smile….remembering my mom….who used to put red velvet bows everywhere she could. We used to joke that it was entirely possible for Dad to wake up from falling asleep in his recliner, paper still open and unread in his lap, to find a bow taped to his forehead.
My plan this year was to go with “Christmas Lite.” After having moved into this house a few months ago I didn’t want to dig out all the decorations, and with plans to travel over the holiday, I didn’t feel a great need to go to great lengths to get it all done.
But then December happened. And so did this.
I couldn’t stop myself from bringing at least some of it out, much to my husband’s relief. At one point he casually mentioned that perhaps there were two people in the house (yes, we consider our Lab to be a person) who still wanted it to look like Christmas, and usually relied on someone else (that would be me), to make it happen.
How could I resist?!
Another tradition that couldn’t go by the wayside was my traditional gift to family and neighbors of homemade english toffee (affectionately known as Christmas Crack) and spiced pretzels, tucked into a gift bag with a kitchen towel and presented with lots of tissue paper, curling ribbon, hand-crafted gift tags and an ornament. This year I tried my hand at sea salt caramels to add to those bags.
So, Oops!….although I should have had plenty of time to get it all done, our Christmas cards will end up being New Year’s cards this year….no surprise to anyone who knows me well. Hmmm….perhaps if I hadn’t taught myself how to make caramel this month, on a whim, things would have turned out differently. But they didn’t, and although I always have the best of intentions I can count on one hand the amount of years I’ve ever mailed them in December.
You’d think I’d just buy New Year’s cards to begin with.
I attended a Christmas Tea in an old historic house today, the former home of General George Crook, and his wife Mary, on what used to be Fort Omaha. Built in 1876, the home has been meticulously restored by people dedicated to preserving the history of the time and maintaining the memory of its occupants.
This hand-stitched sampler was hanging in one of the bedrooms.
I asked our tour guide who the gentleman was and she said no one knew.
Most of us will be remembered with great love for a few generations and perhaps with all of today’s technology our digital lives will be around for a bit longer but ultimately, the people who know us will also die and we’ll no longer be talked about or actively remembered. Our photo albums could very well end up in an antique store, collected and/or used for reasons that are no longer personal to us. The handwriting on our letters will fade. Our Facebook posts, blogs and emails will be buried in the immense glut of digital correspondence that is entered on the internet on a hourly basis.
Not many of us will be historical personalities like General and Mrs. Crook. We won’t have homes named after us and very few of us will end up in history books. In a century and a half our pictures could very well be hanging somewhere as part of a museum display but no one will remember our names.
So perhaps our lives are ultimately not about posterity or anyone knowing who we are two hundred years from now. Instead let’s concentrate on simply making our little corners of the world a better place to be on this very day.
And that will be legacy enough, for enough time to sustain those who loved us while we were alive.
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