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Freeze column: Make some special holiday memories this Christmas

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
I was about 9 years old, the oldest of three kids. It had to be close to morning, though it was still dark outside. On the other side of the bedroom door, Santa’s gifts were there!
The excitement was killing me, I couldn’t sleep, yet nobody else in the house seemed to be awake. I couldn’t see a clock, but it had to be at least 5 a.m.
Surely it would be fine to get up now and see what was there! What is the worst that could happen? They will just make me go back to bed, but how could they do it if I have already seen the gifts. I woke my brother, and told him, “Santa’s been here. Let’s go see what he left!”
We got up and quietly tiptoed to the door. I turned the doorknob, and opened it slowly. There in the glow of the Christmas lights was the nicest red Schwinn bicycle that I have ever seen. That bike was exactly what I wanted, and I knew immediately that Christmas day had begun!
That is my most vivid memory of Christmas, but there are lots more. Later that same day, I tried to ride the bike. It was just so big that couldn’t get my feet to the ground. So my dad ran along behind me holding the bike up as I struggled to figure out the balancing thing. I had never seen him run, but he kept up and kept me from falling. Finally, I rode back and forth on the dirt driveway. Could Christmas be any better than this?
Our Christmas trees were cedar trees from on the farm. They looked and smelled great. My brother and sister usually hiked along with my dad and me, looking for just that perfect one. Lots of cedar trees have two tops, so they had to be ruled out. Too short or too tall didn’t make the cut either. They had to be full in the right place, and any berries just added to the quality of the tree. Usually after a long hike, we found the perfect tree, and dragged it back to the house. The weather seemed always cold on that day.
Sometimes on that same day we might get to go shoot down some mistletoe. There were big old trees over in the deep woods that always had mistletoe. Dad took a rifle and would shoot down a big clump, but he had my brother and me use an old shotgun. This means of course that we couldn’t hit the mistletoe any other way. The kick of the gun on my little shoulder and the gunpowder smell of the shells were often rewarded by pieces of mistletoe, falling and tumbling through the tree to the ground. It was great fun to run around and pick it up, then taking it home in a paper bag. I still love the smell of gunpowder in woods.
When we got back to the house with the tree, it got put up right away. My mom stirred ivory snow laundry detergent in a bowl with just enough water. She then spread the mix on the tree, and soon with lights and ornaments, we had the perfect snowy tree.
A humorous memory from about 10 years ago might be the funniest. There were lots of women at our Christmas Day dinner. Every single one, including my 80-year-old aunt and my 10-year-old niece, got a brand new thong neatly wrapped. Most of these women were not the thong wearing types, but the joy and laughter of that moment won’t be soon forgotten.
That same day, one of my best friends joined us for most of the day. He had issues at home, and we all wanted him to come spend the time with us. Reaching out to good friends during the season just simply adds meaning to any celebration during the holidays. Just think that he got to see a whole bunch of women open their thong gifts at the same time.
I asked my oldest daughter, Ashley, to tell me her favorite memory. By the way, Ashley doesn’t like to be in the paper. Her favorite memory of Christmas is the year her mother and I got both our daughters a Mickey Mouse watch and sweatshirt apiece. They didn’t realize exactly what Disney World was, but they sure were excited to be told they were going. She also remembers Uncle Larry being late to our Christmas every year.
It is a day to celebrate and worship, to cherish and remember. Leave some time for your own special holiday memories, and those who make them so. I hope you add a few new ones too. For us, maybe Uncle Larry will be on time.

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