This is Christmas

This is a Christmas similar to ones I experienced in my own childhood. We had way fewer people, and a much smaller house at Grandma’s. But the crucial elements are the same: food, cold, love, and stories.

The Bottomland

Jesse & Iva Pybas 1964

This is Christmas, and it was spectacular. Open arms and exclamations. “Well, lookie who’s here!” Old people, tribes of cousins, the how-are-we-related-again relatives, and the prerequisite handyman who “God bless his heart, he’s just not right in the head.” Food, food, food, food, food, food and Grandma in the kitchen cooking. Putting on socks before getting out of bed, putting on three layers of clothes just to stay warm in the house then putting on a couple more to go outside. Loading up in the trailer with ten or so kids and a couple of adults to go cut wood and haul it back and stack it on the front porch, and then venturing out again to find the one cedar tree that would stand up sorta straight and fill in the corner, the coldest corner of the big room, farthest from the fireplace. Back inside to drag down the…

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