Saturday, January 9, 2010

Remembrance of my childhood

The holidays are over and I regret to see them go. I love Christmas even though it seems that a lot of bad things happen during the holidays. Today my wife and I took down our Christmas tree and decorations. While we were doing that I started thinking back to my childhood and the Christmases we had. We were poor then but we always had something for Christmas anyway. Sometimes it was only some much needed clothes, but usually there were some toys too. We always cut a live tree off our farm and decorated it with the same decorations every year. We even used the same old icicles year after year. They got pretty wrinkled up and broken, but to us it was the most beautiful tree in the world. In those days we used lights that were not LED and they did get pretty hot. The live trees we cut dried out in time and there was a definite danger of fire. We also heated our home with a woodburning stove and its amazing that we never burned down our house. I do remember once when I was very small that our home caught fire in the attic. It was from the chimney of the wood stove and my father climbed into the attic to try to beat out the fire. All water was frozen because the temperature was below zero if I remember right. All we had was a couple of gallons of water inside the house and my father would wet cloths, probably blankets or quilts, and beat the fire. He would get the fire extinguished at one end of the attic, only to find that it had sprung up behind him. Only desperation and hard work put out that fire. My father had no choice because we had nowhere to go if our home was lost. He did get it put out eventually, after breathing enough smoke to kill an average man, and our life went on as usual. I remember how hard it was sometimes in the winter to get enough wood to keep our home heated. The house was very old and uninsulated. Later we built a new house but the old one was like heating a barn. We slept under so many quilts that I could barely turn over in bed. It seemed impossible to have more than one or two weeks of wood cut ahead and we would often be out carrying wood by hand out of ravines because the ground would be too slick to take a truck to the wood. We always made jokes and said that the wood warmed us twice because no matter how cold it was, carrying wood up hill, trip after trip, will definitely warm a person up. So many memories. I think I will periodically write some of them down here for you to read. Maybe you will find some interesting. I grew up with a lot of hard work and not much in material things. Thats why I understand my wife's people so well. They live in the Philippines and are very poor. They are amazed when I go there to visit and fit right in with them. I don't put myself above them because they are poor. I told my wife that I grew up the same way and I have a lot of respect for people that work hard and never give up. Success is not measured in monetary value. At least to me its not. I value the kind of people that can and will do whatever it takes to survive and be happy. People that believe in God and live accordingly. Maybe I am just old fashioned, I sure hope so because the old days were full of respect for God, each other, and our country. May peace, love and happiness be with you. God bless you all....

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