Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Time in Days Gone By

The Christmas and winter season always brings to mind warm and cheerful memories. 

When I was six, my parents used to rent a cabin for about a week in Yosemite during those snowy winter months.  In my mind, I can visualize our VW Bug following the narrow, winding mountain road to our destination.  Once, one of my uncles road up with us.  He was much younger than my dad and related to his older nieces/nephews as a cousin. 

When we reached the cabin, my mom carried my little baby brother into the old wooden A-frame.  My dad immediately began to form snowballs and throw them like fast balls at my uncle and I.  A vicious snowball fight ensued until we eventually ran out of steam.  Then, it was time to unload the suitcases from the trunk.  My dad carried in the luggage while my uncle brought out the snow saucer. 

My uncle and I jumped on the saucer and slid down the icy drive.  The road  was fairly steep with a sharp corner.  However, we were positive that we could stop before the bend.  The saucer picked up speed as it hurled itself down the mountain.  My uncle panicked as he saw the upcoming grove of Ponderosa Pines.  He leaned with all his might to the left trying to avoid the sharp bend.  I think he hoped that the tall bank of snow would gently stop the saucer's wild slide.  He was wrong.  As we hit the bank, we launched into the air.  The airborne saucer struck one of the pines.  The force of the collision sent us flying into the forest.  I sat up from a particularly fluffy mound of snow.  My uncle struggled to his feet.  He looked at me with fear in his eyes and whispered.  "Don't tell your dad."

Now, you can tell that monkey business runs rampant in my family. 

Son #1 can get into mischief like a champ.  Last year, we took Son #1 skiing.  He learned to ski when he was three and is fairly confident in his abilities.  That confidence turned out to be his down fall.  We were cruising down a gentle green trail in traffic when Son #1 asked.  "Mommy, can we go down that run?" 

I peered over the steep edge and shook my head.  "No Baby.  That's a black diamond.  You need to get better at your turns before trying that run." 

Son #1 nodded his head but looked unconvinced.  He scooted closer and closer to the edge.  My husband and I warned him not to get too close but Son #1 would not listen.  Then when our heads were turned, Son #1 leaped off the edge.  I turned to see my oldest son rocketing over moguls.  So far, he had not fallen.  I was irritated but also slightly impressed.  Then as luck would have it, his ski caught an edge that shot him toward a grove of pine trees.  My heart shot up to my throat in fear.  My husband screamed.  "Fall down!"

Fortunately, Son #1 listened and slid on his rear straight into a tree.  My husband and I raced to the spot where he lay.  Son #1 wailed loudly as I approached.  I threw off my skis and scooped up my son.  From our precarious perch on the mountain, I inspected Son #1's head, eyes, trunk, and limbs.  Everything looked fine.  Son #1 was pretty lucky.  He dried his tears and then gazed into my eyes.  Solemnly, he asked.  "Can we try that black diamond again?"


Before you conclude that mischievousness comes from my side of the family,  let me tell you a story about my husband when he was a toddler.

My husband's parents can bake with the best of them.  During the holiday season, the counter space is lined with delectable treats and pastries.  As a toddler, my husband had a sweet tooth.  He was also an insatiable climber.  Nothing good could come from having those two traits.

One afternoon as goodies cooled on the kitchen counter, my in-laws searched for their middle child.  He was nowhere to be found.  They looked in his room, in the living room, and other areas of the house.  Then, they heard strange noises coming from the kitchen.  Surely, he wouldn't be in the kitchen.

Upon entering the kitchen, they saw a peculiar sight.  On the counter among the pastries and goodies sat a happy little boy.  His hands were held up with delight as he inspected the delicious treats.  His eyes sparkled with anticipation. 

There is a picture documenting this misadventure.  My husband swears he can almost remember that day.

These days, Son #2 is a toddler.  He is usually dancing on our kitchen table, climbing up our refrigerator, flinging objects off their shelves, or running naked through the church.  Mayhem follows where ever he goes.

Today, he was intent on getting into the garage.  Earlier, my husband and the boys played with a mini John Deer tractor in the front yard.  Son #2 shrieked with joy as his older brother drove up and down the sidewalk.  Sadly, all good things must come to an end. 

My eldest son trotted obediently into the house with cheeks that were cold and rosy.  Son #2 was not as compliant and followed my husband unwillingly up the driveway.  Once in the house, Son #2 chattered about going back outside.  I listened to his complaints.  Then, I patiently explained that we needed to wait before riding the tractor again.  Son #2 would not hear of it and repeatedly tried to escape into the garage.  One time, he succeeded in climbing onto the seat of the tractor.  Unfortunately, he was without a jacket and shoes.  So, I scooped him up and brought him back inside to the warmth of our house.  Then, I locked the garage door.  His mischief had come to an end.  (or so I thought)

The next thing I knew, Son #2 was laying on  the laundry room floor eating cat food.  I placed my head in my hands.  Why couldn't he stay out of trouble?  Then, I picked up my little son and carried him into the living room.  I said.  "Eww.  Don't eat cat food.  That's yucky."

Son #2 crunched away on a salty morsel.  Then, he stopped and removed the half eaten morsel from his mouth.  He handed the slimy speck to me and repeated.  "That's yucky."

Christmas really is a special time of year for monkey business.  Whether you are traveling across Wyoming in a blizzard, lying on your back with your skis in the air, shaking your rear at traffic stuck on an icy highway, or peeking at presents in the stockings, may your Christmas be merry and your holidays be bright.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours.

(sweet Christmas song below)

Sammy Stumph


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