The spirit of Christmas

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There is a strange attachment to the holidays that beckons me back to the neighborhood of my early growing up days.

Today, there is little more there than a boyhood burial ground still alive with memories, and seemingly endless moments that were made.

I slowly rode through that old neighborhood one rainy day last week.

Those echoes of the past came alive with whispers that only I could hear.

The old turn-of-the-20th-century two-story home is gone now, but as I gazed at the vacant, somewhat weeded lot that stood in its place there was an overwhelming feeling of those moments when memories were made.

Christmas was a magical time to me and millions of youngsters. It was alive with all the trimmings and filled with love and laughter and giving and receiving.

It was a time to learn — a time to get a bloody nose or a skinned knee or a loose tooth to work on until it came out and was put under the pillow for the tooth fairy.

It was also a time for tears, because every day was not filled with sunshine.

Christmas was much more than a special time in my growing up elementary years, but after sleeping restlessly for the longest night of the year for a youngster it all came together in an explosion of magic.

Santa Claus was always good to us. His magic then was just as amazing as it is today, because there is never any change in the innocence of childhood.

My continued ride through the old neighborhood brought out memories as clear as the moment they happened.

I thought I caught a glimpse of me riding that first bicycle — a J.C. Higgins that came from Sears.

Then another scene flashed by me using that Red Ryder BB gun and my stalks through wooded areas in the neighborhood in search of big game.

The memories of past Christmases kept appearing for view.

I thought I saw my little sister with her new baby doll.

I had an aunt who always dressed as Santa Claus and she always appeared several times during the Christmas season.

Yes, she was Santa Claus to all of us youngsters.

I thought I saw her roaming around through the old house.

There was also a smell in the air of oranges and apples and tangerines.

Then I thought I felt the heat of that old wood burning stove in my mother’s bedroom where we all gathered at first light, or probably a little before light on Christmas morning.

So many, many things have changed over the years, but the spirit of Christmas never changes in the eyes of a youngster.

It still has that mystic period of waiting that is anguish to a youngster, but total magic as it arrives.

A Merry Christmas to you and yours, and may it be a time for making memories to last a lifetime.

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