Saturday, December 2, 2006

Old Folks At Home--Dec. 2, 2006

Thanksgiving was quite wonderful. It was filled with my favorite things: food and family. And yes, I do like the noise of family talking all at once and of kids playing. We had visits from David, Bree, Barbara, Erin and Donovin. Eric, Amy and family, AnnMarie, Brandon and family, Julie, Jim and girls, Siovhan and Amy J’s parents. It was a good time.

Usually Jim and Julie spend that holiday in Idaho so it was nice that they were here. It was nice to have some in-law folks to enjoy. That made the day even brighter. Of course, when you eat at my house you work yourself to death. Barbara made the pumpkin pies and
worked all day helping Dad and I get things ready. Amy made fruit salad, her mom made the yams (and helped clean up afterward), AnnMarie made the rolls, and Julie made apple and chocolate pies. YUM! It was all good.

Just before Thanksgiving, Howard and Siovhan drove down to Nephi for a short visit. We really enjoyed the visit and were glad to see Howard again. It was so nice that he could fly here to Utah to spend time with Siovhan.

We also had a great time at Toren’s baptism. Gramps and Grammy had the privilege of giving baptism talks. It was great to see Toren take the step of choosing baptism. He was happy about it but had become sick with a sore throat just that day. Shawn and LHT gave him a blessing prior to leaving for church. It worked and he felt better so he could enjoy his special day. The Howard’s, Joneses, Siovhan and LHT and Myrna Rae all gathered and had turkey at Shawn’s and Kimberly’s afterward.

I have always loved Christmas! It seems like the perfect way to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ—in the dead of winter when there is little else to be joyous about. We have been told that the Savior was actually born in April, the same month (33-years later) that he died. But the dead of winter is when some of us need something to celebrate and something to look forward to. It isn’t just because I was born in December, it is because of the Christmas Spirit that fills the hearts of all Christians (and some who are not). The reason that I think the month needs a celebration is because it is always so very cold and, unlike the Trauntvein family, I have never liked being cold and would never, on purpose, choose to be outside on a chilly day. I have, from time to time, been persuaded by one of you to indulge in a winter activity. I enjoy being with the family but I am always glad to be back indoors where it is warm. I have no idea where I got this dislike of being cold from because I don’t remember any relatives who complained about being outside making snowmen and throwing snowballs and having a great time. I didn’t like getting on a hay wagon to go caroling either. I was always just persuaded by peer pressure to participate. No one else minds the cold. Just me. Maybe I am really an alien. Maybe my story about my guardian angel getting directions mixed up and eaving me in Utah instead of Hawaii is really true.

I wonder if Garth remembers the time when Santa came to the community center in Price in the evening. It was dark but was probably just 6 or 7 p.m. Anyway, we stood in a long line and I complained all the way there. Garth was happy with the candy, a bag full, and an orange and peanuts, but I was COLD and I did not want to do the Santa wait the next year. “Please don’t make me go!” I preferred the Christmas
community carol sing. It was indoors. So I haven’t changed, have I? By the way, this year, in Nephi, the kids got oranges and fruit roll-ups. Somebody was more interested in health than in fun.

Dad, however, is a snowperson in clothes. When we first moved to Nephi, our neighbor, Joey Olpin, came to our house and brought a jacket of her husband’s to give to Dad. I told her that he had a jacket, he just didn’t wear it. I actually had to show her the jackets in the hall closet. “Then tell him to wear one for me,” she said. She said that watching him shovel snow in his shirtsleeves was too much to expect of anyone. It made her cold just to watch him. He didn’t repent, however, now he wears a coat but he didn’t back then and he really did have three or four.

Dad remembers sledding, throwing snowballs and playing outdoors for hours. I guess that is why he always talked me into the tubing excursion every year. That and the fact that I wanted all of you kids to be normal and not like me. The best part was watching you all have fun in the snow. The very best part was having hot chili and hot chocolate afterwards. Oh, and you can all tell stories about going to cut down our very own tree. Let’s see, there was the time one of you fell down the mountain with the tree. Wait, that was Dad. I know there were other misadventures. Now my joy is my fake tree. Dad just gets it out of the box and puts it back in the box. No cold, no sneezing (from fir-fever), just green tree today and boxed tomorrow. I did do the tree thing all by myself one year. That was the year that Dad was in the hospital after having his gallbladder removed. I did the whole thing. I even got it in the stand. Of course, I remember that Shawn, Melanie, Todd and Eric were helpers also. AnnMarie was just a baby. She had been born in May and it was December. That would have made her 8-months old. Aunt Renee and Uncle Max came up to Provo and watched you kids during the surgery. They took you to Richard’s apartment. Grandpa Trauntvein sat with me at the hospital. Grandma Trauntvein was sick herself and had her gallbladder removed a short time later. Dad did get to be home for Christmas but he was still not feeling well.

I have always, at least since I was a girl, loved the carol/poem below. In those days of girlhood when I had hoped to be a poet/artist/dancer, I learned to enjoy the work of Longfellow. Grandmother Smith, Aunt Renee, Dad and Mom Edna had all learned works of his in school in the “old days” when people actually had to memorize poems. I did not know, however, that there was a bit about the Civil War included in the poem. Remember when we visited Longfellow’s home when we were on our 1976 trip? It was a U.S.D.A. property. I was in awe then—I was actually in the same place one of my writing heroes had lived. It is across the street from the LDS chapel. In fact, the church is built on property that once belonged to Longfellow when he was alive.

Christmas Bells
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’_
Then pealed the bells more loud and
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’
Henry Wardsworth Longfellow