Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas: Traditions Missed

Well, after spending the entire day shopping in the greater Tacoma area, I was at a loss for things to post. But I don't want to ruin my run and my commitment to post more regularly, especially now that I am on Christmas Break. I thought that today I would continue on the Christmas Tradition thread and perhaps focus on those traditions that have been "retired" for lack of a better word.

One such tradition was the "After Christmas" dinner party hosted by none other than my Grandma Perry's Aunt Charlotte D' Andre. And when I say hosted, I really mean hosted. "Auntie Charlotte" as she is well known had everything prepared for us when we got there. Upon arriving at her cozy house on Mullan Avenue we were treated to snacks, chips, and beverages. One of Auntie Charlotte's specialties was the "Tom & Jerry" drink for the adults. I also remember being fascinated by the classic "matchbox" car collection that my cousin Paul and I always got to play with. I remember being so enthralled with one of the little cars because the doors actually opened and the wheels turned like a real car. Auntie Charlotte gave me that car, because she could see how much I loved it.

Of course anyone who ever attended one of those extra special get-togethers will also remember her piano/organ in one of the bedrooms. We used to bang on that poor thing and play the songs and chords that were stored in the bench seat. It was also fun to select certain drum beats such as swing, and bossa nova. I am sure we used to drive the adults nuts, but I know it was nothing but sweet music to Auntie Charlotte's ears.

Another item I remember from Auntie Charlotte's was the miniature village she had underneath her Christmas tree. Each house or building would have a Christmas light inserted into it to simulate lights inside. This village was carefully laid out on some sort of fake snow fabric that had to be at least 50 years old. I still say it was a miracle that thing didn't burn the house down!

Oh and another one of my absolute favorites in Auntie Charlotte's house was the remote control for her TV. We were completely fascinated by this thing. I believe it was a Zenith Space Commander 600. It was the type that used a series of aluminum rods that would be struck by a tiny hammer when buttons were pushed. This meant that there were NO batteries required. We would each take turns trying it out and marveling at how great of shape it was in. Here is a link if you are interested in seeing more of this classic technology!

When the dinner hour came, Auntie Charlotte pulled out all the stops and served up dinners that were simply amazing. She loved to entertain and prepare the meal for all of us. My favorite (and also the favorite of many other family members) was her chicken and rice. I can still taste and smell it in my mind today. At the end of the evening, as we gathered back in the living room to visit and share yet more stories, we would always present Auntie Charlotte with a special gift. It usually consisted of some new dish towels and/or a nice gift certificate to Stein's IGA. She was always so surprised and gracious. I will never forget those special "After Christmas" dinners at Auntie Charlotte's house. It taught me so much about fellowship, hospitality, and the blessings of having such a wonderful family. Thank you Auntie Charlotte!

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