Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas: it's the Little Things That Count

As I looked through this week's Christmas photos of the tree and beautifully wrapped gifts, fireplace stockings bulging with gifts from Santa, and the gift-opening ritual, I realized that no matter how many electronic marvels anyone received (and I saw many of them), it's the small, colorful things that got my attention.

The feet above, embellished by rolled-up pajamas, new Christmas socks, and new sneakers, belong to my grand-niece, Lauren Truby, high school senior and dancer (that explains the pose) who plans to attend the University of Arizona's School of Dance next fall. This photo was taken on Christmas morning in Houston, Texas, where I spent the Christmas holiday. Send me a more glamorous shot, Lauren, and I promise to post it here too.

Lauren's parents, Cindy and Scott Truby, entertained me and my brother royally during our visit. I hadn't eaten so much great food since last year's visit! The amount of baking and cooking that went on for only five people amazed me, non-cook that I am. I'm of no use in the kitchen, as my niece has long known. I sat and watched and enjoyed the good smells, not to mention the food. My mother's old recipes for sour cream raisin pie, copper penny salad, and turkey stuffing were featured. I have to confess that I don't remember these dishes from my childhood (I've always had a love-hate relationship with food, and I don't remember Mother as an especially good cook), but my brother and his daughter (Cindy) remember it all fondly. I guess my appreciation for family tradition began very recently.

My gifts were fine and greatly appreciated (the Godiva chocolates had the shortest life span), but Christmas is for the young. Lauren was very pleased with the many things she got for college: size 0 clothing (I never knew there was such a size), tea maker, electronic gadgets, jewelry, and of course, the socks and shoes. While I was in Houston, I received an e-mail from another high school senior grand-niece, this one in Minnesota, who wrote about her plans to become a registered nurse. My third and oldest grand-niece, whom I haven't heard from as yet, wants to become a figure skater.

Christmas can be depressing for the old and lonely, but, widowed and childless as I am, I am very grateful to have a few young relatives. They are smart and attractive, and they represent the future. They may never become rich or famous (or perhaps they will), but they represent life. They will dance and skate and help other people and change society. That's why I'll remember those colorful socks and shoes.

Copyright 2006 by Marlys Marshall Styne.
Photo by John C. Marshall

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