Each year I wrap the ornaments with care
And put them back in their boxes.
Then they go off in the garage or in storage
Somewhere out of the way.
There are almost always a few new ones
That become part of the memories.
They are packed beside the old glass one
Painted bright blue with a silver indention.
Mother always put that one on the tree
It belonged to her mother
When I was little I remember
Seeing the reflection
Of her blue eyes in the silver.
There are the little flat wooden ones
Covered with tempera paint
And names of my little girls
Written when they were so small.
In the same boxes
Are a couple that belonged to my father
That may be a little yellowed and still smell of Pall Mall.
Dozens of others are there
Each with its own memory, each with its dust
Of Christmases past.
Packed away each year
Until the months roll back around to that time again.
But the years roll by, too
Leaving some behind, taking some away
Some no longer here to decorate the tree
Or blow away the dust of Christmases past.
Alive only in the memories that hang from the tree.
Some ornaments are hard to hang
“Can I hang that one, Dad?’
“Yes, but be careful with it. . .”
And I tell of who that one belonged to or what
Memories it may hold.
Not all the memories, for not all of them come
Without a price.
Those are for late at night
When everyone else is in bed
The young ones dreaming of the presents to come
When I sit alone and look at the tree.
All the other lights off
And I think about this one and that one.
And for just a few minutes try to touch
Those that I loved
I reach for those memories
And I always find them
Usually through tears
But I can hear the voices, the laughter
And sometimes even feel the touch
And smell the scents
Of Christmases past
Of loved ones past
And I know it is okay to cry
For just a minute
For I need to wash the memories a bit.
Christmas is not supposed to be a time of sadness
It is a time of joy
So I take this time alone
While the house sleeps
To be alone with the memories
Alone with those I miss so much
Tonight is their time
Tomorrow I will don the Christmas spirit
And be happy
I’ll try to spread the joy of Christmases past
And maybe help make memories
That will go back into the Christmas boxes
To be opened in the years to come.
I look into an old painted glass ornament
And try to see bright blue eyes
I listen close and try to hear
The voices, the laughter, the joy
And try to catch a scent
To find things I miss in the dust
Of Christmases past
N. Lauderdale, FL