by Baloney Bill
Childhood memories of Christmas last forever as vividly as if they were yesterday.
Keepsakes of Christmas
In my dream it is Christmas.
George is at the desk in the back bedroom
at the window overlooking the Mississippi
building a gasoline engine model airplane.
The Everly Brothers are singing “‘Til I Kissed Ya”
on the portable record player.
Jim is doodling on a pad of paper
making cartoons that really move as
you fan through the pages.
Tom is wrapping the presents
he bought for everybody with the real silver
money he made on the paper route,
and he lets me watch.
Mary is brushing Polly’s long, golden hair
while the paint dries on the ceramic piggy
bank she has just finished.
Polly is a little girl so striking
people stop Mom in stores just to look at her.
Dave is an anachronism in this scene, yet
in my dream he is a toddler running around
the house in a way-too-big-for-him Green Bay
Packer helmet taking a hand-off of a brand new
football from brother George.
Mom has put a stack of Christmas records
on downstairs; Mitch Miller has just
finished and now Montovani’s “Silent Night”
flows from the console stereo downstairs.
Mom is mixing up batter for Tom & Jerry's,
humming to the music.
Dad is coming up the basement stairs
after plugging in the light on the nativity scene
out front. Mom is spooning the batter
into the Santa Claus mugs and the milk
on the stove is almost warm enough.
Soon she will call us all together for a drink
as smooth as cream and as warm as Christmas.
The dreams diffuse then into memories of
presents given and received,
midnight masses, snowy evenings, and
babies -- nieces and nephews, sons and
daughters, and grandchildren. Babies
growing before our eyes to children,
growing then too old for toys and sitting
at the big table with the adults.
The dream gives way to reality.
I am again grown with my own children,
trying to engineer Christmases that will
somehow measure up in my children’s
memories to the splendor in my own
mind of Christmases past.