Friday, December 5, 2008

Get Me a Big Box of Nothing for Christmas!

For a while when I was a child, it seemed my granddaddy's answer to what he'd like for Christmas was always the same. "Nothing." One year, my mother kept asking her father for ideas, and he told her to get him a big box of nothing. Being her father's daughter, she did exactly that-- wrapped the box in pretty Christmas paper and everything. I think he usually managed to suggest a new pair of overalls or some long underwear or some slippers most years after that :)
After all these years, I still don't know for sure if there was ever something we could have given him that he was dying to have. For much of my childhood, he and Grandma lived in a large farmhouse with very few amenities. I can't say it didn't have running water because the well pump was inside the house, in a little room off the kitchen. They finally got a telephone after one of them was sick and they had no way to get in touch with my mom or one of her brothers. Neither one of them drove a car (and actually, if you'd ever seen the way Granddaddy drove a tractor, you'd offer up thanks that the man wasn't meeting you out on the road). The lighting in that old tenant house was probably dimmer and yellower than Edison's first projects. The toilet was an outhouse (a two-seater, but really, how many people want to share that much togetherness?). There might have been electric heat, I'm sure there must have been, but all I remember is them heating with a woodstove. Needless to say, air conditioning was not a feature (although none of us had it yet, either, and the great big poplar trees shading the yard did a fine job of making summer days quite pleasant on the porch).
As long as he had a chew of tobacco (gross, gross, nasty, nasty, and yuck), a few sticks of chewing gum to pass out to the grandkids (JuicyFruit or one of the mint ones), and a good book to read (I do believe his third grade education was probably equivalent to at least an eighth grade education today) he appeared to be content. You know, I have to say "appeared" because now that I'm a grownup I understand that kids don't always see everything. Still, he always seemed pretty happy to me. He and Granny raised a garden every year, kept chickens for eggs and three legged fried chicken dinners (Granny always made sure there were 3 chicken legs when we came for lunch, one for each of us kids), and watched wrestling and Lawrence Welk.
There's no date on this snapshot, but I'm guessing it was taken in the late 1950's because his face is chubbier than I ever remember and because that same recliner is in other snapshots. Those other snapshots show my mother getting ready for a high school dance (I think that's why she had on a dress and high heels) and my oldest cousin making sweet babydoll faces and my Granny looking quite young (the whole Granny's actual age thing would fill another post by itself, suffice it to say she was about twenty years younger than Granddaddy but always managed to look as old as he was).
While I sit here rambling about Granddaddy, I'm also thinking about Christmas presents and requests for "nothing." I've already gotten a very nice power tool from my little brother, and my hubby bought me a really nice Nikon on Black Friday, not to mention some great Secret Santa envelopes that brought huge smiles. . .I don't care if there's a single box under the tree for me. I've got a great life, and there is nothing I need (seriously, I don't think wanting lots more glass and a bigger kiln count as "needs").
Maybe I should make my wish a bit clearer, because I guess I do hope for a box or two under the tree. I do love to unwrap presents (rip 'em open, boys, and don't be dilly-dallying and trying to save that pretty wrapping paper). So, I'd like a big box or two of nothing for Christmas this year :)
I'm pretty sure Granddaddy would approve of my request. After all, it's not that you don't "need" any material goods, it's that you need the love and thoughtfulness of family and friends. Giving a gift is one more way we have of showing our loved ones how much they mean to us, isn't it? I know there's a better way of saying what I'm trying to say, but I'm more than a bit distracted by all the thoughts that snapshot has brought to mind. I have an idea for a way to make it into a present (maybe I should say "surprise" since I did steal the photo from her stash?) for my mom, and I'm trying to figure out how to do it. Better get to work. If it turns out, I'll show ya pictures after Christmas (if I show you before Christmas, then my mother will actually turn on the computer and find my blog on that very day, guaranteed!). Toodles, TGIF, and Thanks for visiting!

1 comment:

Ellen said...

I'm still hearing the theme music from the "Waltons."