W101 – Happy Christmas Eve!

W101 – Happy Christmas Eve!

Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!

Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory. Feel free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

 

 

 

Gosh I don’t feel that this is so easy now that I’m typing.

 

Well I hate to pull a cliché out of the hat but I’d have to say Christmas Eve. My early childhood Christmas Eves were special for a number of reasons beyond the actual meal itself. In all honesty, the meal isn’t at the top of this list but not because it wasn’t good. Without acknowledging it then, I do believe I fancied myself a little bit of a hostess (without all the responsibility of course). I rather enjoyed getting all dressed up and putting on some shiny patent leather shoes while my mom rushed around at the last-minute frazzled and hollering out “turn the oven down to 350 when the timer goes off” or something along those lines. She’d get just about everything in order and then rush off to the shower just barely making it out dressed and ready in time for our guests. My dad it seemed approached the situation a bit more cool, calm, and collected though he was most often in charge of our discipline, where people should park, and greeting early (or on time) guests. Then too though I remember not every year was the same and we all took turns being the last to get ready. No matter, us kids were happy to answer the door and mingle. 😉 And that was a highlight for me, the greeting part of things. But it wasn’t the physical act of greeting I was so excited about, no, the arrival of our guests was my time to ‘shine’ on the piano (even if I was amateur, mediocre you may say). I had a special Christmas-themed piano book I got during my lessons (with our babysitter’s mother as you may remember from a previous post) that I was more than willing to play. Sure I’d say hello and get up to give hugs but play Christmas songs I must!  Up on the Rooftop, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and plenty more. When I got a bit older and started playing the flute in middle school I’d play Christmas songs on my flute from the hallway (something about not playing the flute in front of people was less intimidating than playing the piano in the dining room). This will forever be a favorite memory of mine. I really felt like a member of the hosting party/family. I put on a show, it was great. Even if I was nervous, don’t let my shy demeanor fool you, I loved it. It was a performance under my own terms and conditions, and my parents never even had to ask me. 🙂

 

Of course the whole event was special. We didn’t see family all the time as some  folks do so it was fun not only to see people but to have everyone together in one house with gifts and a feast! Looking back I can remember how I felt watching everyone mingle. It’s easier now to put it to words that I really felt empathic watching the joy everyone expressed at seeing each other. I loved guiding people to the living room, or telling them so and so was already there, showing them where to put their coats, and seeing the smiles multiply when people first hugged each other. It was so fun to run and tell my siblings or my parents, or be notified by them, that Uncle or Aunt or Grandpa/Grandma had arrived. Most everyone liked to check out the table, see how things had been set up, and look for their clay name tag created by my mom, with a little help in placement by us kids. That excitement was as awesome as my own birthday party because everyone was involved; everyone was excited. And you know, you don’t always see older people excited when you’re a kid. Even as my parents were active and happy people they were even more so at parties. You’ve attended and/or held a party with your family or of your own, right? That feeling, it was that feeling. Breaking out the decorations, the fancy table-cloth, the special silverware & glasses, getting everything just right. Then the rush of people, new smells, more food, appetizers, more voices and laughter, the house lit up and spirits rising with the tide. The kids’ table!

 

Being a nerd from the very beginning played into all of this, at least I think so. I liked seeing people in their own. I still like seeing people in their element, and just like a dog on their own territory, being in my own element made mingling with family that much better. After all, I could talk to people without all the attention on me, not that I didn’t like attention. At the end of the night when people yawned more and conversations met their natural conclusion, and people started to wean themselves out, it was kind of sad. I liked seeing all this diversity, all the different faces, who got what from or for who, and who got the most involved in what conversation or argument for that matter. Even as I knew Christmas was to follow – and trust me I was excited plenty for that – this was a party! Do you know what though? I’ve not even talked about my cousins my age and how much fun we all had. Nor have I mentioned how my cousin and I used to disappear to my loft and play and play with all my ponies, Polly Pockets, Littlest Pet Shop toys, Breyer Horses, and more. Oh how wonderful it was when we noticed our parents pouring more coffee and talking more, that meant more time to play! And again, I didn’t get to see her all the time so we made very efficient use of our available play time, especially when we got new toys! So much thrill in one night, what’s not to love? Roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, Yorkshire pudding, green bean casserole, various dishes brought by guests (yes variety and surprise!), cookies, pie and cake! Sparkling grape juice!

 

At the end of it all, it only felt like a beginning because then came preparing for Santa, sitting up and talking with my sister about what Santa would bring, when we were going to get up and how we would do it. Wake up, sit on the stairs, run down, peek between the doors just enough to see something but not enough to get in trouble, then go back to the top of the stairs, wake our brothers, hypothesize some more, then finally wake mom and dad…

 

 

What’d you think? Do you have a sense of my ‘distinct’ voice? What meal did you love as a child? Your feedback is welcome. 🙂

 

Want more from Writing 101? Follow these links:

 

Day 1 – Unlock the Mind

Day 2 – Where A Writer Starts

Day 3 – Some Very Important Songs

Day 4 – Of Serial Losses

Day 5 – Short Story: A Letter

Day 6 – Orchid People

Day 7 – Rainy Days

Day 8 – The Peninsula

Day 9 – Coming Clean

Day 11 – 12 Years Old

12 Comments

  1. Laurence

    Heck Yeah.
    Nicely written!
    I could recall the feeling as if I was there!
    I heard it!

    Reply
    1. eLPy13 (Post author)

      🙂 I believe that you can! 🙂 Glad I could share the memories with you. Those were good times for sure. I feel fortunate to have had such good times.

      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  2. corinna

    I felt a sense of your distinct voice in your emphasizing “the feeling” and how happy people are, and in a different zone, when sharing space all together. Likewise, “hypothesizing” is a word not used often enough in reference to children and childhood memories.

    Reply
    1. eLPy13 (Post author)

      Thank you again! 🙂

      I appreciate you pointing out what in my voice stands out for you; I do ‘feel’ that emotion is an important part of my writing and is what got me started with my poetry in the first place.

      When I found the word hypothesizing in my mind I knew right away it was perfect, I’m glad you thought so too. 🙂 It’s fun to attribute it to childhood for sure.

      Reply
  3. 15yearsandcountingdream

    An amazing Christmas Eve. I thought your description of the whole affair from greeting guests and playing the piano and later the flute, was wonderful. I could feel the joy and the excitement you felt. Your words helped me experience what you did. We never celebrated Christmas Eve, but you have just given me the idea that that would be a wonderful family tradition. No critic or corrections, you voice was perfect.

    Reply
    1. eLPy13 (Post author)

      Wow, thank you for a wonderful comment. I’m glad you were able to experience it with me, that I translated the experience well enough for you. 😀 Hope your next Holiday party is a fun one!

      Reply
  4. awritershelper

    You said, “That excitement was as awesome as my own birthday party because everyone was involved; everyone was excited. ” That sentence is so key, not only to your wonderful story, but there are so many things/events in life that can be applied to–a lot of people would be much happier if they could feel that way. Thank you for writing. I’ll probably be saying that to you often. Hope you don’t mind.

    Reply
    1. eLPy13 (Post author)

      That’s really nice of you, especially from another writer, you’ll probably be hearing that more too. 😉 And I don’t mind one bit.

      Great point, I agree the world would more than likely be better if more of us were concerned about happiness in numbers. New Year’s Eve would be another such holiday when it’s awesome to witness so many joyful, celebrating people.

      Much appreciated. 🙂

      Reply
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  6. Midwestern Plant Girl

    I can feel you through this story, rather than a ‘written’ piece. I don’t know you that well, however we’ve been commenting enough on each others blogs for a while now, and I sense your personality through it. Great piece!
    My fav dinner is not far from Christmas. It’s the beef stroganoff I make from our left over Christmas prime rib. Mmmmm!

    Reply
    1. eLPy13 (Post author)

      Excellent, thank you!

      Man that beef stroganoff seems a dreamy dish, especially made from Christmas prime rib!!! That’d a fav for me too!

      Your compliments mean a lot to me, I’m glad you were able to get a sense of me through this. 😀

      Reply
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