I tell stories. My Dad tells stories. My Grandpa told stories.
I am a story teller.
This is a memory from 46 years ago. It’s about 91 per cent true. I hope you enjoy it. I know this. On my tough days, I can close my eyes, and recall an amazing day with my family that gives me strength.
Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays to all.
Make your own memories.
Christmas 1972, photo from Eder family collection
It was Christmas Eve 1972. I was 14, and a freshman at DeSmet. We were still in St.Louis, Missouri. We had gone to the Eder family Christmas party.
The Eder family Christmas Partys were some of my most enduring family memories. They were at my Uncle Dons for many years. I believe he had a Rathskeller. Uncle Don sold Hershey candy, and the party was fun. We went to this party for over a decade, and I can remember getting sugared up on Hershey candy bars, and my Uncle Don would get me talking about my visit with the Martians (I was five at the time). I loved Uncle Don’s laugh. He was my Dad’s oldest brother and he was a fun uncle.
But, I have digressed. Back to Christmas Eve 1972.
The Eder Christams Eve Party was always fun because the cousins and uncles and aunts were all there. The drive home was long, as we left late, and we got home after midnight. Mom and Dad waited until the girls and Brian were asleep.
On the way back from the party, Brian asked me if I believed in Santa, and I told him, “yes, our parents could not have done all those gifts.” I did not like lying to the brother. I just wanted him to enjoy the Santa dreams a few more years.
After all were asleep, Dad started putting together five bikes in the basement. Mom was sitting on the picnic table down there, and I was watching Dad put together the bikes. Occasionally there would be a Damn, or something else from dear Father. Mom would crack up and I would smile.
In the middle of bike 4, Dad gave me the look. He smiled and asked if I still believed in Santa?
Actually, Dad said, “you don’t buy that Santa bullsh#t anymore?”
I told him that I had figured it out. My father, then, as now, was a mixture of the profound and the profane.
A former, manager at Ford Motor Company, Dad could get one’s attention quickly. He was given, many times, the departments that had issues with management. Soon, they were moving smoothly. Dad was like that. He knew how to motivate, and he knows still how to make us laugh.
Mom just started laughing.
It is a favorite memory when one considers it was 3 am on Christmas Eve. I headed to bed as Dad was still working on bike five. He could always get Mom to laugh and as I went up the stairs, Dad had Mom laughing. He could always get Mom to laugh.
Eleven year old Brian was totally into Christmas. He woke me at 6:30, “Santa’s been here!”
Brian would have stacked all gifts for each of us by 715 am, and Mom and Dad would come out about 730 am. There would be these oohs and ahhs, and lots of fumbled Christmas wrappings. Cromwell, our English sheep dog, would be nosing around the room. Dad, half asleep, would be taking pictures.
Christmas was always special. Mom and Dad always kept the holidays special, and those memories keep me smiling today. We knew that we were loved. It was not about the gifts, but we knew we were very lucky. Now, all of these years later, I appreciate the attention and love my parents put into the holidays.