A couple of weeks ago we went down to South Mills, NC to take a Christmas tree to my dad's grave, he died on my brother's 18th birthday when I was 12, that was Dec. 21, 1964. We had moved to VA by then, he worked in the Norfolk Ford plant.
Many years later they built a bypass that has a tall bridge over the canal, while crossing that bridge the other day, I looked down on the little farm where I grew up. The old red barn and farm house don't look as big as when I was 8. When I think of Christmas as a child, I go there, My old Spitz/ collie mix, Trixie running across the yard, chickens scattering, cow mooing. I see our mail man, Wade raising dust coming up the dirt lane bringing Christmas cards from friends and relatives all over. Going out with my late brother to shoot at birds with my old Daisy lever action, hoping Santa will bring me a new Crossman pump. Smell the pines in the thicket across the pasture, and maybe a whiff of dad's two old sows he kept because he liked pigs.
I see our family in that big old dining room with a big table covered in every kind of food you could imagine, and 20 plus people sitting all over the house, eating, laughing and telling stories. The old wood and coal stoves crackling away, smoke dropping down by the windows covered in moisture and cold to the touch.
Christmas lives forever in that old farm house, in my heart...