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This time of year is always the hardest for me because eleven years ago I lost the most important man in my life- my grandpa Fred. My family’s holiday traditions died along with him 11 years ago. He was the glue that held together a very fragile and broken group of people. I barely remember what it feels like to spend a holiday with another human being because for the last 7 at least I have been alone.
This little post isn’t all about sadness and gloom, I want to share the little bit above because you need to understand that this memory I’m about to share is the only Christmas memory I have. I don’t remember any others when my family was still together.
Being so small back then I remember walking through the front door of my grandparent’s old yellow Victorian house and taking off my coat and laying it between the columns in the living room. In the far corner was a thick Christmas tree with a weird gold topper that always reminded me of a pregnant puffer fish. The ceiling in my grandparent’s living room was nearly 20 feet high and the tree almost touched it. It was like a fairy tale seeing so many presents (in some places they were piled halfway up the tree).
I hope this year they’d let me play Santa.
All of the adults were either Men: watching sports Women: in the kitchen helping fix the food and drinking coffee. The coast was clear… no one was guarding the bowl of black olives that had been already set on the table in the dining room…
Just as I was about to load up my fingers with olives (load up meaning putting an olive on each finger so I looked like I had frog hands) my cousin Scott came up to me with the plate of crispy turkey skin. My family wasn’t exactly healthy, but grandma did take off the skin and throw it away every time she cooked a bird. Scott and I crawled under the long table set for 25 and began to eat the buttery, crispy turkey skin. It was absolutely delicious.
Usually at this point in a story the kids get caught and scolded by the adults, but Scott and I never got caught. I don’t remember just how much we ate but I do remember it was enough that we ruined our Christmas dinner.
Ever since that Christmas, turkey and chicken skin makes me want to gag. I can’t even look at it without getting grossed out. 🙂
This time of year always makes me sad because more than anything I wish I had a family to share the holidays with. I hope someday the man I marry and I can give our kids wonderful holiday memories they will cherish as they grow. Hopefully someday they will have more to remember than turkey skins.