I’ve been wondering why I ve spent so much time this year making applesauce and homemade plum wine and putting up pumpkins. This does not seem normal when you can buy these things in any grocery store for not that much money and a lot less effort. I was brought up doing these things and they never seem more imperative than during times of need. Tonight, I felt as if there were someone looking over my shoulder as I cubed and canned pumpkins from Taos Pueblo. It was eerie. I kept turning around to see who was there. But I was alone with my memories….
Mom was born during the height of the Great Depression in February of 1933, the eleventh of thitrteen children. She once told me the story of her best Christmas memory ever, as a child. It was during World War II. She would have been almost nine years old when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred- and her older brothers went to war.
I’m not sure what year it was, but Mom had brothers off at war- just like everyone back then. If not brothers, then sons or uncles or fathers. She must have been about ten years old when she had her best-ever Christmas.
There were not many gifts as people were making do with what they had as best they could and trying to support the war efforts. She was delighted to know that her brothers Bill and Ken were alive and well, and what could be be better than that?
Unfortunately, her brother Harold had not been heard from in some time, which lent an element of worry to the festivities, solemn as they already were.
There came a knock at the door, and a delivery man brought a huge and expensive looking gift of the biggest poinsettia display ever! Grandma answered the door and tried to explain that this could not possibly be the right address. “Who on Earth would be so extravagant as to send such a thing during wartime?”
Mom said that Grandma Lucy was a bit irritated with such excess… until she read the card, with a tear in her eye; which said, “Merry Christmas! Love, Harold”
She danced around it and was astonished at it’s beauty and great expense- the best Christmas present ever!
This beautiful flower had brought the news that her brother was still alive! “It seemed like a miracle and this flower is the most beautiful one of all- the one that brought the news to me. I will bless it forever! Even if I never have another tree, I want to always have a poinsettia, because it is the most beautiful flower in the world, to me!”