- I love the lights of Christmas. First one house on the block. One on another block. And then they just keep multiplying until the whole neighborhood is decked out is sparkling lights of red, white, green, blue, with snowmen or nativity scenes or?. It's just magical.
- The music of Christmas. Holy Night, Little Drummer Boy (Rosalie's favorite), Ava Maria, It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas, Silver Bells, etc. Sunday night I was at Joe's and about 12 or so tandem bikes rode by all decked out with the riders singing carols an bells aringing as they peddled.
- The Christmas Tree and the rest of the house. I always decorated until the house was overflowing with decorations. I particularly lke the combination of red and White. The only thing that did not get decorated was the bedrooms. We has a rather ornate ornamental frame around the picture window int the living room of our spanish architecture house. The tree was done red lights and red and whit ornaments. The frame was doen in white twinkel lights without the damned flash. At that time we lived in predominatelly jewish neighborhool and the joke amon our friends was that we had to get a variance from the homeowners association to decorate for Christmas.Lame but funny - the first year.
- Open House on Christmas Eve. This was one of the highlites of the year. We always had a full bar plus virgin eggnog with whiskey and brandy sitting beside the punchbowl. I cooked for two or three days for this evening and really put out a spread. There was hardly ever anything left. In the early days of adulthood the Open House was small, but it grew and grew. I did this for about 25 years.
- Midnight Christmas Eve Service at First Methodist on Main Street - Houston Tex 1961. This was probably my most favorite Christmas Eve, never to be repeated. I was still living with my Mother at home and we went to the Christmas Eve service. She was a bit hootched, I had a few, but did not match her embibement. The church was gorgeous - candles and poinsettas and wonderful music from the pipe organ. Dr. Charles Allen was the pastor in those days and we just loved him. We sang lots of Christmas Carols, had a short sermon, and closed with Holy Night. Then the inside lights went out, and a lone candle was lit and carried to the first seat in the first row next to the aisel by Dr Allen. The assistant pastors did the same on the other aisles and there were two upstairs. The congregation passed the lighting to the person next to them and then Dr. Allen started the procession up the aisle and out of the Church. As we went up the aisle, Dr. Allen lit the two candles on the first seat in each row and the church just started to glow and the light just got brighter and brighter. There were at least 2000 people at that service. Then we went out the front door and the whole church emptied out onto the sidewalks and we stood about 4 - 5 deep for the full block of Main Street and around both of the side streets. It was in the 20's that night. Passing motorists stopped, got out of their cars and were given a candle and we were out there for about 30 minutes just singing and freezing. It was a glorious evening and one that I have never forgotten. And it seems it was just last week.
- Christmas Dinner - I have cooked Christmas Dinner for most of my adult life since I was 21. Probably missed about 5 of them going to one of my sisters' houses or whatever. I loved to cook, still do, but it's not the same for one. I've done about three or four Christmas Dinner's since I've been sober. But It's just too hard to do by myself. In the earlier years I did sort of an Orphan's Christmas - I did the Turkey, Cornbread Dressing (Southern Style), and the gravy. Then I assigned dishes from the menu to one of the Orphans. The Orphans were my friends that did not go home, or that would have been alone on Christmas Day. The last year I did this was 1970. We had three turkeys, a ham, dressing, yams, corn, curried peas, waldorf salad, that damned green bean casserole, a cake or two, and pies. Those who could not cook would bring two bottles of rose' wine. Christmas Dinner, 1970 we had 47 people. The house was packed overflowing out onto the front porch and the back yard and the garage. It was quite festive.
- Christmas of 1964 was a Christmas of Memory. I shared a house at 2412 Elment Street with a good friend and his lover du jour. I did the meal and my best girlfriend Jerrye, Mother, and my sister Rosalie joined us with my Roomie Buddy and his LDJ Bob. I did the whole thing and my Mother was driving me nuts. Why are you putting that in it, I never did that. Oh you left out the -------.I almost grabbed her, stuffed her mouth and put her in the oven, but I chose to have another drink. We were all crocked by dinner time. The six of us sat down and just pigged out. Buddy and Bob were sitting on one side, I was at the head of the table and Mohter was on the other end with Rosalie sitting next to her and Jerrye sitting next to me. One by one we each finished eating. There were many toasts. The last one Rosalie and I damned near died on. Mother clanked her glass, and said Zane baby fill em up. I did and then she gave a toast. She raised her glass, patted herself on her rather large tummy, and said to a Good Meal. Good Company, and excuse me but I have to go take an enama so I can make more room for this fucking turkey and trimmings. Buddy, Bob, and Jerry just howled with laughter. I started to laugh until I saw Rosalie's face and she gave me that look, well she's your Mother. Rosalie later said she was absolutely mortified. I still laugh about it, but Rosalie has not to this day seen the humor in it.
That was 1970 and I drank until 1992. This will be my 18th sober Christmas. I will be spending it with Rosalie. We got past the Thanksgiving event. I just chalked it up to FAMILY ties. Of course a good talk with my sponsor helped also. Christmas's are different now, they are SOBER. I remember all of each and everyone. Well, sometimes I have a brain Fart and forget, but it isn't ole John Barleycorn or Juan Tequilla that takes my memory away. Funny how I never have blackouts anymore. I've been told that that does not happen as long as I am sober. And I intend to stay sober. I love being sober. I love Alcoholics Anonymous and the life it has afforded me. Of course, 99% of the credit goes to God, my Higher Power. It just does not get much better than that.
Tonight I am grateful for:
- God My Higher Power
- My Sobriety
- Mamie, My OCD schnauzer.
- My Sponsor
- Wonderful Memories
- Being given the gift of accepting the not so wonderful memories.
- All Y'all.
Y'all be pretty now, ya heah.