Archive | December, 2016

Christmas Nostalgia & the Pig

4 Dec

It’s been an unusual few weeks. Our club has been working on our float entry into the local Christmas Parade; a project very close to my heart. It gives our members an opportunity to be creative TOGETHER … to laugh & even curse a little during moments of frustration as the project takes shape. It’s all good.

On Wednesday before the parade on Friday night, I got sick with a debilitating GI bug. Fortunately I was better by Friday & was able to be in the parade & enjoy that special, freezing moment on the float with friends when you just know all that effort making the float … well, float … was worth it.

Saturday morning I woke up sick again. I remarked to Willy that God must have understood just how important it was to me to be in the parade on that special float. I was grateful for that small miracle.

I so enjoy going to church during the Christmas season. Last Sunday, at our minister’s request, Willy & I lit the first advent candle. Even though I still felt bad today, I struggled to go to church … because that’s where I wanted to be.

The sanctuary is lovely during December. Wreaths with red ribbons hang on windows & doors & this morning the Chrismon Tree had been decorated & was brought to lighted life just before the second Advent Candle was lit by Betty & Bill. The sanctuary smelled of Christmas & cookies … truly a gift of the season.

We sang an old Christmas carol; a favorite from my childhood & I not only got rows of chills on my arms, I had to swallow back tears. They weren’t tears of sadness but tears of remembrance of being a child at Christmas in my great grandfather’s old church in North Carolina. I never knew him & was born many years after his passing but he founded that church & it was as much “home” to me as the house we shared with my grandmother.

Singing that carol flashed many a Christmas memory through my mind’s eye of Christmases in that old church, the smells of baking & real Christmas trees, the “visceral feeling” of joy at having family come from several states to share that special time.

Sometimes a song & especially a hymn in church will bring back that kind of emotional nostalgia that is so personal & beautiful. I’m glad whatever is necessary to bring about that kind of reaction is part of who I am.

There was a small girl in church with her grandparents this morning with big eyes nestled in a sweet face that was haunting. I told my husband she looked like a waif & should be selling matches somewhere on a corner. He didn’t know the Little Match Girl story & ‘Goggled” it during communion. The female Google voice began speaking, telling him matter-of-factly the Hans Christian Anderson story while he frantically attempted to silence it as the wine was passed during that familiar ritual. A friend later commented that the Google voice was fairly unexpected at that particular time. She laughed & so did we. It was an unexpected mingling of nostalgia & technology shared this morning with our church family during communion in a church filled with the sweet aroma of holiday smells.

On the way home I tried to remember just how The Little Match Girl story went so I could tell my husband.  It was such a poignant story because of its mixture of beauty & tragedy & I wanted to get it right. I loved that story as a child because, even though it has a tragic end, there is such beauty in it. Remembering it today made me cry all over again & I remembered asking my mom to read it to me many times when I was a child. I hadn’t thought of that little match girl in years until this morning.

There’s a couple who own a home not far from our subdivision. They have a HUGE combined sense of humor & have a life-sized concrete pig at the end of their driveway that they dress in seasonal piggy clothing throughout the year, EVERY year since their new home was completed & they moved in … lock, stock & piggy, about 10 years ago. Those of us who live in the area have not only come to LOVE that pig, we depend on it … & WAIT for each holiday & seasonal wardrobe change.

Wrapped in the cocoon of my Christmas carol induced nostalgia at church, I hadn’t given a thought to the neighbor’s concrete pig until we drove past their driveway. From the corner of my eye I noticed she’d had a costume change & begged my husband to go back & take some pictures of her. For several years I’ve been posting pictures on Facebook of every costume change Miss Piggy graces us with & I wanted to add new pictures today. Since Willy is also fairly invested in that pig, he went back & took 6 pictures of the newly dressed piggy in her Holiday attire.

When I saw Miss Piggy my heart leapt. I laughed out loud & clapped my hands, releasing a childish joy I wasn’t aware I still possessed & making me feel better than I had in a week.

Miss Piggy, even as I write this, is wearing antlers, Christmas sunglasses & a big red ball on her nose. Behind her she is pulling a small sleigh that is carrying a jolly, white-bearded elf waving to us & our neighbors as we drive by. Miss Piggy is Rudolph the Red Nosed Piggy … to my pure & un-watered down delight, the delight of our neighbors & now also to the delight of my Facebook friends from around the world.

This morning has been an emotional roller coaster ride but it took a concrete pig wearing antlers & a red nose pulling a sleigh full of Santa to bring me back to the present … & to make me realize the multitude of joys of this holiday season.

Christmas isn’t just for the young. It’s for us ALL … kids, adults, kids at heart & those who love that concrete pink pig that brings such pure, childish, hand-clapping delight to all who know, appreciate & love her.