Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christmas Eve 1959

In the days before
America lost its innocence,
And before Blackberry, PC, PS2 and Wii,
When the world seemed young and fresh
War a fading memory
Post war prosperity a reality.

We gathered all at grandma's house
Parents, cousins, uncles, aunts,
For fish and peirogis, homemade bread and pies,
Laughter, broken English, singing and presents.
Oh, so many presents -
More than my imagination could ever conjure.

Cheesy aluminum tree,
Gaudy ornaments, rotating color wheel.
Now so commercialized,
Then simply advertising
The stack of packages beneath
Holding inside what only Santa knew.

And the old guy showed up
In spite of his hectic night.
My cousins in fear,
But I wasn't afraid of the red suit and beard
The laughing eyes, the shiny boots.
He had a watch just like my Dad's.

In the eternity between
Dinner clean up and passing of presents,
We busied ourselves guessing
And watching TV,
Everything then in black and white
Three channels and rabbit ears.

But the next year
Grandma bedridden and ill
Could only smile and have each one of us sing
"Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"
As she closed her eyes
Savoring the song, the moments, the passing.

And the moment did pass
Into another time, another era.
My own children, now their children.
But Christmas Eve, 1959
Will always live in my memory
And be played back like a DVD.