It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere we go. That is for many Americans who have a Christmas tradition built on the Clement Moore poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" or as it is more commonly known "'Twas The Night Before Christmas."
Moore's father was the president of what is now Columbia University and an Episcopal Bishop. He participated in George Washington's first inaugural and rendered last rites to Alexander Hamilton after his duel with Aaron Burr. Moore was an author, noted Hebrew scholar, real estate developer in New York City and spoke five languages.
It is reported that he had a plump Dutchman drive him to Greenwich Village in December 1823 to purchase a holiday turkey for his family. On the way he wrote his seminal piece of poetry. His image of Santa Clause is still with us as well as the New England snow. I often wonder how confusing this is for Americans in Hawaii.
It is snowing today as I write this column and that is altogether appropriate as I write about things that people have told me they remember about Christmas' past. On my desk I have a little red tractor, a two-bottom plow and a baler. They have been through three generations and the paint is worn away, the wheels wobble but they are precious memories of my youth. I also have some toy blocks we played with and a baseball glove that looks like Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown used. I won many a World Series wearing that glove.
Dianne remembers 1960 when they went to spend Christmas with their grandparents. When they returned home there was a bicycle for her and her brother in their apartment. Robert remembers going downtown in Indianapolis to look at the beautiful window displays in Blocks, Ayres, Wassons and the stores around the circle. Then when the Christmas tree on the monument was added it was breathtaking.
Karen remembers standing on the street in front of the largest store in her hometown looking at a display of dolls. They were so beautiful with colorful, lovely costumes and cases. "My mother had to pull me away. They were like a magnet. On Christmas morning the one I liked the best was a gift from Santa."
In 1957, our first Christmas, Susie said, Doug surprised me by preparing a most tasty dinner. His hobby was gourmet cooking and he out did himself. He also decorated our little tree wearing his apron. I remember that meal and Christmas as the most enjoyable of our long married life.
Bernice said, "I've made doll clothes most of my life and for the last 35 years have given them away and sold some. The Salvation Army wanted clothes for dolls they had collected and came over to pick some out. They wanted to pay me, but I gladly donated them. I feel good knowing that children enjoy them."
TW and TM say, "We always thought we had the best Barbie doll clothes in the entire world because mom made them." As I write grandma is sewing Barbie clothes and American Girl clothes for Audrey and Tess. I'll wager that many years from now they will remember those wonderful gifts and they will have some of them stored away in a special place.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at Larry Vandeventer 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.