For me, the holiday season also includes my birthday which I just celebrated yesterday. This time of year often gets me thinking about my family and how I got where I am, and also how lucky I am to do what I do. I just finished visiting with my sister, niece and nephew and spending Christmas up at about 5,000 feet in Payson, Arizona where my parents have lived since retiring 5 years ago.
My mother grew up in München, Germany and her father was a master carpenter. She remembers fondly the toys that he used to make for she and her sister, but of course these were brought to them on Christmas Eve, not by him, but magically by Christkindl. However, before Christmas, early in December they had to make it through a visit from Saint Nicklaus who is much less benign than his doughy American counterpart. If you were a naughty child in Bavaria, he and his servant, Knecht Ruprecht, would steal you away in a sack! So, my mom and her sister would wait for them in anguish (mostly my mom since she was the naughty one) as their heavy footsteps slowly ascended the stairs with their chains and possible child abducting attaché! They’d then have to sing a song or recite a poem to make up for their misdeeds and if they were lucky they’d receive some candy, a cookie, or an apple.
My father grew up in New Mexico and it was said of his father that he could make or fix anything. It is now established that with these two Grandfathers in my lineage I’m in pretty good shape to be building things. My parents’ property is covered with an assortment logs and interesting rocks my dad has collected, which he says someday he’ll make into lamps and tables and benches. But what with all the golfing to be done these days the projects never seem to get finished! At least he has got his own priorities straight, and he too sees the value in saving these things from the landfill. He is also part of the Firewise committee so he is diligent about clearing the vicinity of flammable trees, which leaves me with more manzanita branches that he brings me than I know what to do with. One of these days I’ll have to haul back some larger bits of his collection to make some of these projects for him.
I’m thankful for my family and the fact that I’ve been lucky enough to inherit a love for making things and working with my hands. I hope everyone else has had an opportunity to reflect on fond memories this Holiday Season and wish everyone a very happy and productive New Year! And so begins my 33rd.