Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Best of the Season and The Best Turkey Sandwich

Sunrise on Pineridge-Cambria Ca.
    The light has broken into our dark world and for a few hours at least there is a greater sense of peace, joy and hope.
    Tiny Tim, of the Dickens Christmas Carol is my most enduringly favorite character of this season. Of all the secular players, it is the innocence, hope and purity of the little lad that best aggregates this season of Advent.
    The season is full of touchstones that connect with memories. These old village houses were already well used when Lana was born in 1946. There are newer village scenes, but few with this much soul. Krisin, our eldest and spending her first Christmas with us in almost a decade, requested that her mom "set up the village."
    Christmas 1967 is a particularly nice memory.  I drove home to Indianapolis from my college job in a snow storm on Christmas eve. I needed to make the 60 mile return trip before sunrise so I could be back at work to sign on a radio station. Before I ventured out into the pitch black of 4AM Christmas morning, Mom gave me a sack and told me to have it for my Christmas dinner.  It was a turkey sandwich with a side of her unique potato dressing and a piece of pecan pie.  
    The snow of the night before continued in the pre-dawn and by the time I arrived those 60 miles away, the roads were deep and so were driveways.  I was supposed to work from 7am to noon. However as the morning continued other staff members called to say they were "snowed in" and I'd need to cover for them.  Being the junior member of the staff, a college kid who needed the hours and work I restrained myself from reminding them I had just driven an uncleared state highway and then county roads to get to the rural radio studio. We were a daylight only station, meaning at sunset, I signed it off and headed home.
    Home was a pretty typical college apartment. A bedroom, small living room and tiny kitchen over a garage. A television was not in my budget. Entertainment, other than studying, was a hi fi turntable with those detachable speakers and a nice table top radio.
     It took a while to get into town, across the campus and to my apartment, dark and cold.  I called my parents and spoke with them and family members who were getting ready for a second round of Christmas dinner. I wished them all the best and they all wished that I could be there.  I turned on the radio and found a Christmas special being aired on WCFL out of Chicago.  It was a creative blend of music, and hijinks of a very talented air staff, lead by Ron Britain, a master of voices and put ons. It was essentially the sort of thing that would air only on a holiday when it was assumed the only people listening to the radio where those who were shut in or who were without family or friends around. I was the perfect audience and the program was the perfect Christmas night gift.  As I listened, I opened a beer, put a paper towel on the table as my table cloth, arrayed the dressing on a paper plate, added the sandwich and pie. The wind whipped around the drafty windows, but I was warmed from the heart out.  Mom's care package was all I needed and that Turkey Sandwich may have been the best ever!
     1956, Muncie Indiana and my dad's three sons show off our favorite gifts.  Little Jim liked that Drum. John is showing a view master and I couldn't wait to give that new basketball a go. This was a time when the hand me down jeans, from older cousins, had plenty of "growth room."  
Sweet memories.


  See you down the trail.

1 comment:

  1. Wishing you and your family the very best of the holiday season, ol' buddy.