It’s my day on the holiday blog tour and I want to welcome you all here for my contribution to the holiday tour.
When I think about Christmas Eve, my mind is assaulted by the smells, flavors and sounds of my youth and of my present. It is also filled with hope for the future Christmas Eves and what they will bring.
The smells. Pine, sharp and almost biting as we drag in the tree. When we were kids, it was a visit to the local tree stand. I remember my mom crying one Christmas because she couldn’t afford the tree she wanted and my sister and I chipping in our savings to bring home that tree for her. Today we head out to the tree farm, my husband, daughter and me, and chop down the tree and sling it on the roof, a prized trophy to take home and hang with lights and ornaments collected over the years. Even some ornaments my mom handmade that always get a special place on the tree. They let me know she is still there with us in spirit.
Citrus, garlic and pork, slow roasting in the oven. I would always wake to that smell and know it was Noche Buena. A time for family, friends and hope. In those first cold days in New York, the hope was to go home to Cuba. Volveremos my parents and their friends would say around the holiday table crammed with people and food. We’ll go home, but they never did.
I am home now. Here. My roots in the soil as firmly as those of the tree we just cut down. My love for this Nation as broad and wide as the branches of that pine. Maybe more. My wonderful friend, Lois Winston, made me a beautiful needlework pillow with a motif of American flag designs. She said of all people I would appreciate it best because I was the most patriotic person she knew. It brought tears to my eyes.
The sounds. Pots and pans banging in the early morning, like church bells calling me to rise from bed and come help out in the kitchen because family and company are coming for this very special day. My grandma and mom would be there, bustling about to prepare the meal. To keep traditions alive as they share tales of cooking with their mothers and grandmothers.
Drop a penny in the water and dunk the octopus, one, two, three times, my grandmother would instruct as my sister and I watched the poor little thing curl and slip beneath the boiling water. It always tasted better than it looked!
At night the music would come on and couples would dance, their hips pumping and bodies moving to the sounds of the Latin beats. Later would come a conga around the house, everyone laughing and enjoying being together.
The music is still there in my house. Christmas carols and Gloria Estefan. No congas anymore, unfortunately. I’m a Cuban with a genetic defect: I can’t move my hips and have no rhythm. LOL!
The sights. Deep, forest green broken by the shimmer of glass balls and the painted wood of various ornaments. Some from my childhood, like those my mom made. Others collected over the years by my family. It’s fun to look at them and see the phases of our lives, from Power Rangers to one for a first driving license. Hubby’s always tend to lean toward the Mets and channel surfing. Then there are others I’ve bought in some of the places we’ve been lucky enough to visit. Hawaii. Italy. Our hard work has been rewarded by many opportunities that neither my husband nor I had as children.
I’ve added a tradition to those of the past: A Christmas village. Every year we put it up, although this year my daughter has a new shop, so I had to do it alone. That’s the cycle of things, I guess. In time she’ll take over the tradition and I’ll be the one doing the helping. We try to add something new every year. This year there were a number of additions. A cheese shop my daughter and I bought last year. A flower shop my sister gave me. A hotel, haberdashery and some horse drawn carriages from my lovely friend Gail, who is cleaning up and knew I would appreciate the additions to my village.
Here’s a photo of it! I have more up on Facebook fan page for you to see! Don’t worry if you’re not on Facebook. These albums are open for public viewing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this view into my holiday memories. Take a moment to visit these other artists and see what the have to share with you for this holiday season.
I hope it will get you all in the mood for some holiday fun or bring back memories for you!
Dec. 7 Lupe Mendez, The Poet Mendez
Dec. 8 Gwendolyn Jerris, Silence & Honeysuckle
Dec. 9 Natasha Oliver, 2 cents
Dec. 10 Regina Tingle, Unsolicited Certainties
Dec. 11 Caridad Pineiro, Paranormal Romance Author Caridad Pineiro
Dec. 12 Teresa Carbajal Ravet, Sententia Vera
Dec. 13 Nathasha Alvarez, AudaciousLady
Dec. 14 Stephanie Dorman, How Many Frogs
Dec. 15 Karen La Beau, My Life on Canvas
Dec. 16 Annette Santos, The Monga Confesses
Dec. 17 Zoraida Cordova, Zoraida Writes
Dec. 18 Kristy Harding, Kristy Harding
Dec. 19 Nikki Kallio, Purple Houses
Dec. 20 Sujeiry Gonzalez, Love Sujeiry
Dec. 21 Samantha Kolber, Sam Poet
Dec. 22 Thelma T. Reyna, The Literary Self
Dec. 23 Julia Amante, Julia Amante
Dec. 24 Icess Fernandez Rojas