Patrick J McCormick
Blogs by Patrick J McCormick
12/6/2004 4:21:36 PM
How many times have you heard people say to you, "never look back always look ahead". I think when they say this they are referring to unpleasant memories. It is nice however to look back at good times, and more important it is nice to have good times to look back on.
As Christmas approaches I find myself looking back at some of the good times at Christmas, first as a child myself and also the happy smiles and excitement of my own children. There is one however which comes often to my mind these days and that is the first Christmas I remember. I cannot remember for sure which one it was, but I believe it was my third. Obviously since I was born early in November it was not my first and as I recall the words spoken to me that morning I do not think it could have been my second.
It was a long time ago in Ireland, before the second world war, and my parents like everyone else in the district were poor, so the presents they bought for their family of four (my youngest sister had not yet appeared on the scene) would pale in comparison to the lavish amounts spent on the nurerous gifts children get today. It was a magical moment for me however, since I was not aware that such a day existed until I was awakened that morning by my brother and two older sisters, full of excitement to show me there presents from a wonderful person they called Father Christmas. At first I felt like I had been left out and, though I was not interested in the presents my sisters had, I was very interested in the beautiful little tin horn my brother (a year and a half my senior) was blowing with great gusto and excitement. I reached for that horn as most children of my age at that time probably would have, and started to cry for it. I was still reaching for it even as they told me there was one for me, and was still looking back at the one my brother was holding as my sisters led me out of the bedroon to show me what had been left for me. I could not take my eyes of that wonderfull little tin horn sitting on the mantlepiece as my sister reached for it and gave it to me. Breakfast was forgotten as my brother and I walked around blowing these horns incessantly. In later years I often wondered if my parents had by the end of Christmas day regreted their choice of tin horns, but at that time I had just dicovered a new experiencewhich would continue with only one interuption over the next nine years.
I never got another tin horn, I guess they learned that they needed to forego some of their enjoyment at my excitement to retain their sanity. Their were other presents though, usually only one which would be somewhere on the mantlepiece and I often wondered how my mother always knew which present Father Christmas intended for each of us. Our every day stockings hanging from the mantlepiece were easier to recognise, and they always contained the oblgatory orange and red delicious apple (we called them American apples which we only had once a year) along with a few candies. There was not much when compared to the presents children get today, but my siblings and friends always looked forward to it, and were happy with what we had. I don't think any child today could be any more happy than we were. Yes we were all disappointed that one year during the war when Father Christmas was not able to come, we all got some money to do with whatever we wanted, but the excitment was mising.
Yes it is nice to think back to that first remembered Christmas, we did not have much then but since our neighbours were in the same boat we didn't know there was anything to miss and we were happy. My three siblings from that morning have all passed on, It is nice to remember them too.
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