How do you describe a feeling, emotion, and the reason for your heart feeling like it has increased in size and will burst with either joy or sadness? If you think about it, it’s like trying to explain to someone who has never tried it or knows what it is how crunchy peanut butter tastes. What brought on this avalanche of… in French when you can’t quite explain it they say something has a certain je ne sais quoi… I think that applies to this.
So, why am I wondering?
I’ve had the Hallmark Christmas movies running in the background for a couple of days knowing that tomorrow I will have to tune into Elmo and the Sesame Street gang for the twins, and it made me remember Christmases from my youth. I have two sets of memories neither more important than the other.
One set of memories is the smell of butter, the taste of pastries and Armenian pilaf, sitting on backless benches in the Armenian church where the women sat separate from the men and only the very old or pregnant ladies got to sit with their back against the wall and watching my mother sit uncomfortably because crossing your legs in church was not allowed and my mother wanted her legs crossed or propped up whenever she sat down. The sound of the older men droning the scriptures in slightly off-key tones and everyone rising to their feet every time any name of the Trinity was said in the scripture. All odd for a child but somehow I loved it all. Going to the homes of my relatives and hearing them talking in a language I didn’t recognize but playing with cousins who were my age and spoke English, although to them my southern accent was as strange as their Armenian was to me.
The other memory is the smell of bacon frying and the wood-burning stove on the cold South Georgia air. The sounds of the dogs howling in the night as the men of the family went out hunting in the woods and later realizing that it was more a time of pulling jokes on unsuspecting city boys than actually hunting. All the men coming in out of the cold to stand in front of Grandma Minnie’s big open fireplace telling all the funny antics they had done while out in those dark woods, especially if they someone had talked their target into waiting for the mythical creature to make it’s appearance while they all went back home and left him stranded in the woods alone.
So what is real and what is imagined?
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving until next month but from now until January 1, I will enjoy the heart swelling, maudlin emotions wallowing in my memories of Christmas past and looking forward to Christmas present and future…
Did any of you identify with any of that?