Christmas 1960

Updated: Jan 12

Damp heavy darkness surrounds us as we rush toward grandma’s back door Throwing it open we are blanketed with hugs and kisses in the tiny entry that leads to the kitchen Aromas of fresh baked ham and turkey swirl around us We have just completed our annual christmas eve program at
redeemer lutheran where i said my lines from isaiah chapter seven perfectly Eight years old and dressed in red velvet i know only happiness at grandma & grandpa’s house Until this particular christmas eve It happens after all the mouth-watering food is devoured All dishes washed wiped and put away
All of us scrunch together on the living room’s chairs sofa and floor where a festive 7 light candelabra shimmers in the broad bay window I watch snow falling outside—huge fat snow-flakes dropping heavily under a street light And i know only bliss—for the presents are being handed out and i can’t wait to open mine We all take turns and pass each gift around for everyone to admire Sitting by brothers and across from four male cousins i feel safe and giddy—until i begin opening my red-ribboned gift
Oh nooooo Cotton Lace Panties I want to die Guffaws burst out of the mouths of bill and roger My cousins join in the laughter What am i going to do No way am I passing pink and blue flowered panties around the room Jeez The snow continues to fall creating a “wonderland for good little girls and boys” while inside i remain mortified trying to hold the package of underwear out of sight
The hilarity is silenced by boys’ socks and cowboy undershorts Later mom says “you got exactly what you need and that is the important thing” And so we put on our coats traipse out to the snow-covered car and head north six miles to the big cold farmhouse—where we already know what is underneath the christmas tree

rosemary roenfanz

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