The red lights of Christmas are starting to depart around here on the Buffalo Bluff. There is a saying among grandparents of a multitude of grandkids…. that it is so wonderful to have everyone at home for a holiday, but the best lights of Christmas are often when the red taillights of departing family cars filled with sons and daughters and grandkids drive down the driveway or away from a house!!! Grandparents tire more easily than either their children or grandchildren–thus the origin of the "saying"!
Some of the "Christmas Leftovers" (not the edible ones) are black ashes in the woods where the 3 sons and their Dad had a campfire on Christmas night. They hauled firewood and 4 lawnchairs down to "the crossing" in the woods east of the house and had a wonderful time staring into the glowing firelight and just talking , talking, talking, as fathers and sons love to do. There are also many tracks from sliding vehicles and snow vehicles for hauling the human sliders and their vehicles back up the Big Hill west of the house. There are bits of tape stuck to the carpeting and small scraps of cheerful wrapping paper lying around as well. I almost wish the ringing laughter and chatter between the Grandkids would somehow "freeze" in the atmosphere and thaw out so I could hear it again later. That reference comes from a good Paul Bunyan tale about the Winter of the Blue Snow when it was soooooo cold that Babe the Blue Ox turned blue in the first place, and also when the lumberjack’s words froze in the air and the woods was filled, in the springtime with all the thawed out winter conversations!!!
I need a good nap today. I got a short one yesterday and I have to confess that I opened my eyes this morning at 9:18 a.m. after falling asleep several times from early morning on. Our one daughter- in- law and two of the older granddaughters that have jobs during the Christmas vacation times, left yesterday…the first to go. Now son # 3 is on his way home to St. Cloud. His two children are staying with "Gramma and Gramps" until Tuesday but Granddaughter Katie has a sleepover planned for New Years’ Eve, with her best friend, Fiona and two 14 year- old girls LOVE having sleepovers… so we must deliver the kids back to Wadena or Sauk Center to meet the Mom or the Dad or both by Tuesday. This is routine when the St. Cloud "Grands" stay with us—we meet at a half-way point and "exchange prisoners"…which sometimes includes the family dog, the Hyper-Sensitive and Neurotic , Jobie the Dachsund (I love that little dog so much!!!) "Bunners" the family’s gray Mini- Rex rabbit will be waiting at home for his kids who love him and care for him when they are at home. Mom had to care for the pets while Dad and the kids visited the farm (Mom had to work yesterday so only the 3 came here for a couple of days). Son # 1 and his remaining daughter (the one who does NOT have to work at a part time job) will be leaving in an hour heading west to Bismarck. We are all a bit tense about the icy rain that coated Interstate 94 out to Jamestown last night, but plans are afoot for driving very slowly, if necessary, past Jamestown. Second son who lives with his family in Fargo is here with two of his "chicks" while the third grandson is away at a winter camp near Duluth for a few days. The Mom is at home with Otto, the other beloved "granddogger". Then, when the last of the troops head down the driveway, showing the final red taillights of the past Christmas weekend, Grampa and Gramma will be alone.
I remember the final line of my first "declamation" in the mid 1950s when as an 8th grader I "declaimed" a humourous reading called "The Father of the Bride". It was the story that has been made into at least two movie versions recently, with 2 varied casts of actors and actresses….I remember that Spencer Tracy was the first "Father of the Bride" and Elizabeth Taylor was the "bride-daughter". The father’s name is "Stanley Banks" and the last line that I had in my humorous speech from about 1953 concerning all the departed wedding party and wedding guests: "And Mr. and Mrs. Banks were left—–with the wreckage."
I love my kids and grandkids so much I cannot even describe how much……but we are sort of being "left with the wreckage"…….but…. we are retired and do not have to clean it all up at one time—–I may leisurely spend the next week….cleaning up the "wreckage" from the fine, fun-filled, family-oriented, most- blessed days of Christmas, 2008. We are so grateful for the gift of another Christmas when all our sons and their familes could spend it with us at our farm… high atop the Buffalo River—-now a frozen silver ribbon running through our woodlands.
The red taillights going down the driveway mark the end of a good family time and I think we made even more memories for the "Grands" this year!!