This will be the fourth Christmas Eve since pops passed. The tradition started many years ago; spending the evening with my Dad, brother, our families and extended families, eating, drinking, laughing and just enjoying each other’s company.
Since I’ve had four years to reflect, there are some things about this day that I’ve continued to missed and things I’ve learned I didn’t think I’d miss. Here they are:
- Talking to my pops earlier in the morning, making sure everything was still a “go”, because with Dad, he was always late to everything, even when the party was at his house.
- As I’d be talking to him, I could tell he’d be distracted. Why? Well, he was doing his annual — I need to get my shopping done in one day — tradition. Yea, he was that guy.
- The big bear hugs he’d give when we’d show up and his excitement to see the kids.
- The poinsettias he’d make.
- Drinking a whole slew of beers and pops saying, “man, I don’t know how you drink that shit."
- “Woooooods”…Dad’s way of saying, would you like to go on the porch and smoke a stogie. You see, “woods” are Backwoods, a convenient store type of cigar. Dad would smoke the “woods” while I’d smoke something that cost more a filet mignon dinner.
- Hanging out on that deck for hours, and I mean, fucking HOURS. Despite the cold, rawness of the evening, rain or whatever, we’d hang out there all night long. Just pops, my brother and brother-in-laws.
- Sharing stories out on the deck; mostly random shit, but stories that always got us laughing and laughing HARD.
- We’d always pick up a new story or two from pops; something random he did as a kid, which was probably something stupid, but in hindsight, was funny.
- Opening the gifts and the excitement the kids got for the most random — and usually expensive gift — pops would buy for them. Two American Girl dolls at 100 bucks a piece? Sure. For both kids. No problem.
- The two envelopes pops would hand me. The first was for my birthday, because I’d never see him on my actual birthday. In the card would be some “scratchies” or lottery tickets to you people. The second envelope was for Christmas, which included a few c-notes in the card. Dad always gave us too much and I always told him to spend it on the kids. I don’t need anything. But, I guess I was still his son and he always wanted to do something for me. Cash is king and he knew that.
- After the gifts, brews, food, stogie, etc. the guitar would come out. It was the best part of the night as it brought me back to when I was a kid and pops would play for my brother and I.
Sure more will come to memory as the years pass, but for now, I’ll hang on to these for life.