Thoughts for the new year

Welcome to 2019! Here’s hoping all your holiday wishes came true, be them big or small. I always enjoy reading the reprint of Adam Kelly’s Christmas column each year and it always brings a smile to my face as I picture the excitement his words create. There isn’t one particular Christmas that strikes a chord in my memory as that day did in his, but there are gifts and holidays that come to mind. I ask you to travel through my memories with me and search for a few of your own along the way.

My mom’s dad could never be fooled with a gift, no matter how hard you tried. I remember the year Mom was sure she had him stumped with his new hedge clippers. He picked up that package, lifted it up and down, and promptly said, “Thanks for the hedge clippers.” So much for that surprise.

I remember my dad taking me to my hometown ‘fancy store’ to choose a gift for my mom. Thinking back, I can’t imagine how he was able to afford shopping in that store, but all the overtime with the phone company must have put some extra jingle in his pocket. I was allowed to roam the store and choose anything I wanted to give Mom. I finally chose a green pottery candy dish, candle holder, and ash tray set. They were decorated with three-dimensional holly leaves and red berries. I was able to claim those pieces from the attic when we cleaned out mom and dad’s house and I use them each holiday. I still shake my head at the ash tray — it is huge and Dad didn’t smoke. Why we bought that ash tray is still a mystery to me and I must find a way to repurpose it. I guess it just completed the set.

Then there was the Christmas Mom got a five-pound bag of sugar. You read that right — sugar used to come in five-pound bags. Sugar had become quite expensive, and I’m guessing it was somewhat of a luxury. I don’t remember the exact year, but it was at least the late 1960s or early 1970s. I’ll never know whether it was given as a ‘gag gift’ or not. Another year, shortly before Christmas, I had gotten my very own bedroom suite, minus the night stand as that wasn’t in the budget after the bed, dresser, and desk. Imagine my joy when my grandparents came in the house carrying a largish gift wrapped in brown paper. Yep, the nightstand was in that brown package. I think my niece has parts of that suite now.

I think the year that may top them all was the Christmas of 1977, I was home from college and getting ready to do my student teaching. I was given a small box and not much else for Christmas. I was confused, but… When I opened that box, though, I found out why my gift pile was so small. Inside that box was a car key. (Well, actually, two keys as there was an ignition key and a trunk key in those days.) My folks had gotten me my first car so I had a way to get to my student teaching assignments. The car was even parked in front of the house and I’d had no idea! It wasn’t the fancy car a lot of kids nowadays get for their ‘first car’, but Hildy was a beauty — an Oldsmobile Cutlass S. I was surprised Dad would buy a car that wasn’t a Ford/Mercury product, but when your buddy finds you a great car deal you don’t question make. That car was part of my family until the early 80s and I saw it around town quite awhile after we sold it.

As you put away this year’s Christmas, take time to make some memories to bring out now and again. Adam and I can’t be the only ones with wonderful Christmas memories.


Sue Sampson is a longtime columnist for The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.