My grandparents passed away over 10 years ago. I was very close to both of them. Their house was my second home, a place where I was completely comfortable and at home. I was comfortable in the living room watching old westerns and eating pork chops and smothered potatoes. I was comfortable drinking chicory coffee in the kitchen and talking to my grandparents about “the old days”, living through The Great Depression. I was comfortable sitting on the porch, talking to my grandpa, and eating endless amounts of satsumas. These are just a few memories that I will always cherish.
My grandparents had the old stand up heaters where there was an actual flame in the bottom of the heater. I always thought it was so cool. When it started getting cool, the heater would come on, and my grandpa would make his famous vegetable soup, and there were always mixed nuts in a bowl on the kitchen table, with nutcrackers. The almonds were my favorite. My grandpa would always try to get me to eat the hazelnuts. I would be there for hours helping my grandma wrap presents and decorate her tree.
It was a family tradition for years, that all of our family would get together at my grandparents’ house for Christmas Eve. My grandma would take out her orange punch bowl with glasses. She made the best punch with floating oranges and my grandpa would make hot chocolate on the stove. Real hot chocolate. I can still remember how it smelled. We always had Fritos and chive dip. This was Christmas Eve every year. I would get there early and help my grandma set everything up. She was always so excited and so happy. I looked forward to this night every year. The sounds, the smells, and the overall feeling of contentment and peace have stayed with me all of these years later.
I have started a few of my own Christmas traditions with my son. We read the Christmas story before we open presents and I make him hot chocolate just like my grandpa did for me on Christmas Eve. I realize as an adult what an impact it made on my life, and now my son won't let me forget any of our new traditions. This always makes me think of my grandparents and the gift and security that they gave me through our Fall and Christmas traditions.