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Bright Ideas

Christmas Eve


December 15, 2017

Every year we open gifts for kids and gifts from kids, Katie and Clayton, on Christmas Eve. We did that when I was a kid. We’d go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, have a meal, and open presents. One year my uncle Donnie had gotten a present for the girl he was going to marry. It disappeared. Grandma probably threw it away. Her sons never made good choices of wives; Grandma never liked them for at least for 15 years.

The same was not true of her mother. Mom wanted to stay with her and her husband, my Great Grandparents, until they had a trailer. She always loved old people. When they moved to Kansas she added the old woman living on a railroad retirement fee. It wasn’t enough; so mom bought her new shoes. She hired another woman to cook in her restaurant. On Wednesdays they served Bierocks; a cabbage roll filled with hamburger, onions and cabbage. We altered the recipe .

The first old woman’s sons gave her the privilege to manage her money. They trusted my mother and they should have. Even finding a good nursing home when she could no longer care for herself. My Aunt Gloria was a hair dresser; mom had her fix the woman’s hair every week. When she died it was like my grandmother died again.

My dad was a favorite with children. He had a shelf behind the cash register filled with free candy he’d give to little kids. When he died, the little kids missed him most. The fill-ins didn’t know about the free candy. The idea died with him.

Mom remarried quickly and she and her new husband moved to Salina, Kansas. They lived in Salina until he retired, then it was back with sisters in Russell, Kansas. She died at 80; after two strokes and as many heart attacks, her body was worn out. Every night she prayed she would die; finally her prayers were answered.

My step dad could attend Reed’s wedding. For several years my older nephew would drive him up here in his big RV but not anymore; he works a demanding schedule. He plans to retire at 50. And my step-dad doesn’t travel well. He’s 20 years older than I.

For Christmas Eve we will have prime rib, baked potatoes, and salad. We will have Grandma Huff cookies and all will be happy. Then we open presents, Grandma and Grandad.

The next traditional meal will be New Year’s Eve. Brice always makes shrimp Creole, and maybe French bread. Last year I was having Trigeminal nerve pain and couldn’t eat without pain; hopefully this year I will be pain-free. Then we’ll probably go to Billings in January, and schedule a time for the gamma knife radiological procedure to kill the nerve in my right hinge and I will never have the pain again. And we could have the Ocrevus infusion to slow or stop the progression of MS forever.

It would be the best Christmas gift for me.


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