New Memories and Good Bye Kisses


The days after the gathering on Monday, have been very quiet.  I woke early on Christmas morning and sat while light came to the rabbitpatch.  Time changes things . . .even Christmas.  Long gone are the days of commotion on Christmas morning, for the rabbitpatch.  I am glad I had them.  Now, here I am with a “silent Christmas ” morning. .  . and so I forge on, with coffee in hand, watching Christmas bloom over the woodlands, til at last the light falls on the territory.  Dawn is always a holy time for me . . and most especially at Christmas. 

If we are only “happy” when things are a certain way, we are destined to be disappointed . . a lot.  The only dependable notion . . .is that things change.  In that case, we must adapt and seek  happiness with great fervor.  You needn’t go far, but you must sometimes go deep.  Solitude is not loneliness and peacefulness is not dull.  . . and so I embraced this unfamiliar Christmas joy . . .and deemed it, beautiful.

Afterwards, I started peeling potatoes.  I prepared chicken to be roasted in Jo Dees’ sauce recipe and got the fixings ready for macaroni and cheese.  I would later, pack my wares and head to Mama and Daddys’, for a new memory was in the making. My first cousin, Chris and his wife, Aino, were coming to Christmas dinner .  Chris and Aino were in the same predicament as me-for their children are grown with families and so they too, had celebrated Christmas early.  Tres and Kyle would be there, so the dining room table would be full and every chair filled, which is always a good thing.

We ate after the noon hour.  The day was so mild, we could have had a picnic!I have seen one white Christmas in all of my life.  It was 1989 and it was an icy snow.  The temperature was unbelievable for southerners.  Nobody had water as pumps were frozen.  Roads were impossibly covered in ice.  But this year on Christmas, it felt like April.  

When the sunlight fell in long slanted rays, we ate cake and  then left with some new and happy memories.


I left for Elizabeth City on Friday.  It was another unusually mild day.  There was just enough sunshine  to cast only the faintest shadows.  If this continues, the peach tree, is liable to bloom!  The peach is so easily deceived, after all.

The days after Christmas are apt to be gloomy, if precautions are not taken . . .for me, at least.  My dearest loved ones have returned to their own homes which takes the biggest toll, of all.  Many folks turn off their holiday lights and the beloved tree now seems like a nuisance .   

When I was a child, there was  “Old Christmas”.  (  I had never heard the word epiphany) I think we stopped that celebration when Grandmama passed.  When I moved to Farm Life, “Old Christmas” was kept by Miss Sylvia.  She had a party every year and we were all invited.  There was a table  full of pretty dishes of all sorts of holiday food.  The yard was decked with Christmas trees and reindeer and lights were everywhere.  Those of us who lived close by, kept our lights up and so Christmas remained in Farm life til January sixth.  This is when Miss Sylvia gifted her family.  I like the tradition that honors the visit of the wise men, and declare when I do retire, for the date can fall on days like Tuesday, that I too will have a gathering in observance  of  “giving” as the Three Kings

Of course, just looming ahead is “New Years Day” and I do not know why, that holiday has just never been “all it is cracked up to be” to me.  Very few years have I stayed awake to see the new year ring in.  The dropping of “the ball” has never stirred me, in any fashion.  We do eat the traditional black eyed peas and greens on January first and that has been about the extent of our celebrations.   . .and then there are the “resolutions”.  I have never yet had the fortitude to adhere to a single one, for any length of time.  Several times, I have changed a way of doing things and even a way of thinking-which is not for the faint of heart, but such an endeavor was usually the result of a lesson  learned the hard way. . . and were  more likely to be made in the twilight of September or a morning in May. . . than on New Years Day.

Now Lyla, on the other hand, loves a holiday .  She wants decorations and some sort of commemoration for each one.  She has decided that at sunset on New Years eve we are all to conjugate on the back deck with lanterns and candles  to bid farewell to the past year and welcome the new one.  Jenny and I will try to find sparklers tomorrow to surprise her.

There are also plans to make several dishes-enough so, that we will need an early start to accomplish everything.  Tomorrow, we will pack it all up and head to the home of  “Aunt J” for a noon time meal.  Lyla and I had a lot to do before sunset.


 It was almost cold on the last morning of the year.  There was a brisk breeze that rushed the “laughing river” along its’ course.   Will got home when the sun was casting long slanted rays.  The pot of chicken was cooling and there was pimento cheese, chicken salad and a dish of oranges and coconut, on the counter.  Lyla and I made a mad dash to deliver some  of it to Miss Thelma before our “sunset service”.  I felt awful about my hasty departure from my ninety five year old friend, but alas the sun was not going to stand still on this day.

We made it with a few minutes to spare.  The sunset was a beautiful grand finale to the day . . .and the year. Lyla and Brynn ran about bundled in little hats and coats, under a dazzling apricot sky.  We all took a short walk together on a boardwalk  over a little creek and suddenly, at long last, the eve of the new year felt very significant and it was worth a tribute.   The losses and disappointments seemed a little further away, for some reason.   

I remembered the joys of the past year as well.  How many wildflowers had Lyla picked for her mama-wilted bouquets of violets and dandelions clutched in her little hands, in the spring.  Little Brynn went from her mothers’ arms to following Lyla around like a puppy.    . . and Ryan was born.  The birth of Ryan bound us all again .  It was a time of unbridled joy. 

Sorrow and joy act as “bonding agents” in a family, I thought to myself.  

When the sun was slipping beyond the horizon, Lyla blew a good bye kiss to the old year . . .Brynn followed suit . . and so did I.

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36 thoughts on “New Memories and Good Bye Kisses

  1. Beautiful pictures! Lyla is my kind of girl. Celebrate, celebrate! Probably my French Catholic heritage has encouraged this. 😉 Did you know that another name for the Epiphany is Twelfth Night? Also just happens to be one of my favorite plays by Shakespeare.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely pictures, indeed. Thank you for this gentle meditation on the way our traditions change over time and leave us feeling wistful, but new things replace them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely post! We still celebrate everything, even without little children. Our tree is still up and lit. I’m thinking we should make some new memories and find a way to celebrate Epiphany at home. We have it at church.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh what a lovely finish to today’s post. Pictures!!! Thanks so much for sharing images of those we’ve most likely read about throughout 2019. Good health, happy times, and the continued love of family and friends to all. Happy 2020 Michele. What a wonderful year it will be started as you did with black-eyed-peas and greens. Yum. Yum!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Concerning silent Christmas mornings and the “quiet times” … Paul Tillich penned my favourite quote of all time on solitude & loneliness:

    “Our language has wisely sensed these two sides of man’s being alone. It has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”

    Love the goodbye kisses to the new year, out on the boardwalk, over the creek.
    Happy New Year Michele!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh Michele….I love all those photos!!! I used to fuss when my holiday traditions started changing. I have since come to realize that change was part of adding daughter in laws to our family…..I had to learn to share! It was hard but those women that my sons have married are such a blessing. We have decided that even if we do not celebrate with our children on the actual day we will still invite anyone who can come and fill our home with love and laughter on Christmas day.
    Blessings to you Michele.
    PS…I suspect that food is one of your love languages. I know it is mine and I love reading about all the different things you make to bless people with.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I know how you’re feeling, Michele. Change, especially those traditions, seem far more looming at Christmas and other holidays. It’s hard to have a quiet Christmas morning when the memories are filled with little children’s laughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “…we must adapt and seek happiness with great fervor. You needn’t go far, but you must sometimes go deep.” Such a wise and true thought. Each season of life seems to brings new reasons to “go deep.” A wonderful 2020 to you dear friend! By the way, I was asleep by 10:30 on New Years Eve… I like Lyla’s way of celebrating it much better than watching the Ball drop! We all need a Lyla in our life!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another of your wonderful posts. I loved seeing your family in pictures. We cannot capture the Christmases of the past. but we can make new memories of the present. I think each day brings change and enjoying each day is important. Happy New Year to you and yours. Love and hugs to you

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You have started a new tradition, the bidding farewell of the old year with a toast to the sunset.
    I like this, and I think I will adopt it for future years, if I’m lucky enough to have them.

    “Never be the first to break a tradition.” I once read somewhere.
    Annually at Christmas, I send a box of petite fours to the homes of my grown children, but this year I was way behind schedule. The two daughters spoke between themselves. Perhaps no petite fours this year? They would never mention it to me, of course.
    Granddaughter Madison checked the mail box every day, watching for the “little cakes”.
    I wouldn’t have thought a fourteen-year-old would cleave to tradition.

    Weren’t they all smiles when the red tartan boxes of “little cakes” arrived!

    An Irish blessing: May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

    I wish you continued good fortune in great measure.

    All my best,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott- I get the the tradition-for I gave my nephew a nutcracker every year-then he grew up and seemed way too cool to get another one- he was so disappointed, that I went out and got one after Christmas!! The Irish know how to bless!! The same to you, my friend-and you know I always send you mt best=Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love what you say about finding happiness and joy in new ways! Our holiday celebrations do change as we move through life, but they can still be special and will be the memories we treasure in the future. And what nicer way to celebrate the new year than by gathering together to watch the sun go down on 2019? Happy New Year, Michele!


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