My Favorite Holiday Memories: Food, Fun, and Family

May 6, 2008
By
Making Grandpa’s sausage, living on the farm for weeks at a time during the summer, and spending holidays together with my family were three reasons to return to the Franzluebber’s farm. The best memories from my childhood come from Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Before they passed away my greatest joy was Christmas morning, when all 40 relatives would reunite to celebrate my favorite holiday. Spending Christmas with grandparents can provide a child with some of the best memories. Even though I was only nine years old, I still remember the last Christmas I spent with Grandma and Grandpa as if it were yesterday.

Early in the morning the aroma of a traditional, hearty breakfast wafted around the house awaking all that were still at rest. I sprung out of bed and raced to wake my younger sister, Libby. She slowly realized what all the commotion meant and clambered through her doorway with an awe-struck sparkle in her eye. Christmas was finally here.

The steamy mountain of pancakes was placed at the center of the table; the normal giant pancake lay underneath all the rest waiting to be claimed by Dad. The maple syrup smothered pancakes were devoured at record setting times and soon it was time to open the presents Santa brought. Libby, just over 5 years old, and I wanted nothing more than the joy of ripping and shredding the festive wrapping paper in order to find the toys of our dreams. As the red and green paper was flung in all directions, I was relatively surprised and slightly disappointed when most of the presents turned out to be clothing or something completely useful. Libby and I picked up the chunks and shreds of paper that lay scattered throughout the whole living room while Mom and Dad showered. Shortly after, it was time to venture out into the winter wonderland to make our way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

As we drove down the narrow gravel road, crystals fell from the sky forming a thick, white blanket across the windshield. Barely visible through the windows were winding driveways leading to the farmhouses of rural Nebraskan farmers. Finally, after the long, two-hour journey from Papillion to Dodge, we reached the driveway belonging to Grandma and Grandpa.

Libby and I carried bags nearly the size of Libby, full of presents to stack under Grandma’s tree. Year after year, the appearance of her tree was identical. The enormous piles of presents, wrapped with an assorted array of newspaper, red paper, and green paper, stretched itself from wall to wall. The tree itself was quite a sight. Grandma’s decorations consisted of her collection of flower blossom shaped lights; stringy, dull garland; a tattered and torn, tiny angel mounted on the top; and her beautiful, white lace, hand-crafted ornaments. Libby and I placed the newly added gifts to the pile and headed back into the kitchen to sneak bites of dessert before dinner.

Dinner was a feast fit for a king. We had ham, baked turkey, smoked turkey, mashed potatoes and Grandma’s gravy, egg salad, macaroni salad, jello salad, green bean casserole, hash brown casserole, Texas brownies, salted nut rolls, rice krispy treats, rhubarb crisp, pecan pie, cherry pie, and Grandma’s famous horn rolls. The selection was endless. I cut into the beginning of the line and began compiling as much mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy, and horn rolls as my plate could hold. Then I ventured into living room to grab a seat at the kids table with my cousins, both younger and older. After the food had disappeared from my plate twice, it was time to open presents.

Aunt Diane named me Santa for the afternoon. I handed, carried, passed, and threw presents to my relatives in a random order. After nearly 45 minutes, the pile had dramatically decreased. My cousins were also becoming restless, antsy for more excitement. As I presented the last few gifts to the lucky recipients, Audra, my cousin, strategically tossed a ball of wrapping paper hitting Uncle Al square on the forehead. At the beginning of this, most of my cousins understood that this meant war. Before I knew it, paper was flying in all directions, aimed at anyone that wouldn’t bring an end to our joy. Aunt Karen, on the other hand, had different plans. During the red and green chaos, she became an innocent bystander, hit by a miss-aimed wad of paper. Being hit was the breaking point, and she threatened everyone with dishes if all the paper wasn’t picked up and properly disposed of. The chaos and commotion was brought to a premature end. As the threat of the towering pile of grimy dishes stood, my cousins and I behaved and followed her orders.

The dishes sparkled and were returned to their proper homes above the counter and sink without the help of the mischievous young ones. The trash was dragged out, down the path, and dumped into the burning barrel to be burned the following day. Aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered their presents, empty pots and pans, and coats, and braced themselves to face the frigid winds. One by one people said their goodbyes to Grandma and Grandpa before they departed back to their normal lives. As it was my turn to hug Grandma and Grandpa, I embraced them each with care. I knew I’d always remember the food, the fun and the people I spent every holiday with. Grandma and Grandpa told me to be good and to listen to my parents, and I repeated that I would, with a wink of my eye and left.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Aunt L said...
Aug. 25, 2008 at 5:15 pm
Molly, what a nice article! It's great to have wonderful childhood memories that you'll always keep with you.
 
uncle g said...
Aug. 21, 2008 at 3:29 pm
That is a great article Molly. Nice way to remember the good ole days. Good job.
 
auntie2 said...
Aug. 17, 2008 at 10:41 pm
Good job, Molly! Christmas on the farm was always very special. I'm glad to know you will remember the good times we had and how special Grandma and Grandpa were. Thanks for putting your memories into words for all of us to remember.
 
auntie said...
Aug. 15, 2008 at 4:02 pm
Molly-that was really a nice article. It actually brought tears to my eyes remembering the good old days. Sure miss grandpa and grandma but with memories like that it's like they are still here with us on holidays. Nice job!!
 
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