"The higher, the fewer;" as my years stack up, my world gets smaller. One of the biggest building blocks to be lost was my Dad, always larger than life no matter what else might change. We stopped being close before I was in my teens but he was always there, the steady center.
He was a Christmas baby; for a child born two years before the Great Depression let a lot of the steam out, having one's birthday fall on 25 December was about the worst possible date -- and considering Who Else's birthday it was, it wasn't even anything a kid could hold a grudge about!
My Dad, born into a very large and not at all wealthy family, saw the world move from economic depression to global war as he grew to adulthood; he had no idea what prosperity looked like until he attained it himself and he always viewed it with a little suspicion, lest it might evaporate if he didn't keep after it.
Christmases in my childhood home were special times -- as most are! -- and the more so because Dad's birthday would conclude the day; we didn't just have Christmas, we got birthday cake, too. In later years, Dad's day would get bumped forward or back, to fall on the same day as "family Christmas," whatever day near the holiday allowed for the greatest number of us to gather.
The big family holiday's become steadily smaller over the years; there are more of us but more schedule conflict as well, with the youngest generation of adults having vast lists of holiday services and festivities to attend. With my Dad's passing, his birthday has passed, too; one more diminishment of tradition, one more little reminder that the world moves on and takes little notice of us as it does.
Tell somebody y'love 'em this holiday, whichever holiday you're celebrating. We're not here forever.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
6 months ago