December 8th………“DURING YOUR CHILDHOOD IN MINNESOTA, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY AND WHY”??
Wrapped in the gentle folds of dream-kissed snowflakes dwelt the magic that made the Christmas Season, on our family farm near Kiester, Minnesota, to be my most beloved holiday of the entire year!!
Even the very word “holiday” is special and you know why? Because its origin comes from actually two words. The first part of the word, “Holi”, is derived from the word “HOLY” and that means “to set apart”. The last part of the word is “day”; therefore we “set apart” a special day from all the other days of the year to make it super grand and memorable………and that it was for this little wide-eyed farmer boy!!
I’ll bet our country mailman (who I seem to recall was Mr. Kabe) almost didn’t need chains on his vehicle to get through the snowdrifts during the Christmas Season because of all the extra heavy ballast he carried in the hundreds of pounds of Christmas catalogs that came to our farm (and all farms around us) from companies like Sears, Spiegel, Montgomery Wards and others.
Those thick volumes of childhood toy joy would make a heavy “kerplop” sound as they’d land on our farm kitchen table. Little sister, Candi, would grab one Christmas dream-book while I’d grab another and make a mad dash out to the Living Room couch to sink into those soft cushions and start making “dog ears” to pages we’d hope that Mom or Dad would come across and get us a ton of toys!!! 😉
All the elements that made this Christmas Season thrilling were already starting to percolate bubbles of happiness in my little boy heart and soul.
It was 1960, and our parents were gonna splurge for Christmas cards that year in having our farmer neighbor/photographer, Merrill Bauman, take a professional photo of us four Noorlun kids for our family card to send out that season. My “Cheshire Cat” grin, in that photo, was only too evident as I was musing how, when we got back home that evening, of how I could be the first one to glob onto the Sears Christmas catalog and go right to my already-worn cowboy pages of Roy Rogers clothing and gun holsters. “Please Santa!!! Bring me all these goodies”!!! was my heart-speak that I hope Santa heard all the way up to the North Pole!!! By Christmas Day, those fun catalogs were worn to a frazzle and even drooled on……..so to speak!!
Be it the innate immaturity of childhood, or the virile imagination station that permeates each child’s mind; either way, it was hard for me to feign happiness when our family grandparents (with good hearts, of course) would tantalize me with a Christmas package of splashy-colored paper and bows. My momentary thrill to receive that present was chilled when I’d rip open the fancily-wrapped gift only to find a practical gift of socks, a handkerchief…..or worse yet…….UNDERWEAR!!
Without a doubt, the good Lord gave this little boy a lesson of life in those practical gift moments. It was a form of spiritual calisthenics to strengthen my childish heart in maturing towards adulthood, someday, and learning the lesson that it’s not WHAT one receives for Christmas, but appreciating the love inside someone’s heart that caused them to WANT to give you a loving gift in the first place.
The rich, pine fragrance of our family’s Christmas tree each year saturated our humble farmhouse with the perfume of seasonal, evergreen cologne in the air. Out came boxes of sparkling, colored ornaments that soon bedazzled us as they hung from those scented evergreen boughs. Each lovely ornament was nestled amongst the “silver rain” of dainty strands of aluminum tinsel that floated with the slightest breeze upon each scented branch of our pine tree treasure. Seemingly lighter than air itself, the tinsel sparkled with moving colors of Christmas ambrosia whenever someone walked past the evergreen wonder that stood right there in our Living Room.
Unlike the frenetic and staccato-crazed techno lights of today’s Christmas electronics………our childhood Christmas tree was bedecked with the most gentle, rich-colored, conical orbs in a soft-glowing spectra of peaceful hues. These tapered glass cones of primary colors not only set off the beauty of the hanging decorations, but also spoke to my little boy heart, in their quaint and consistent light, as if they were speaking, “Be at peace, little one. Enjoy the tenderness and tranquility of this holy season”. So replays the Christmas memories of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉