Hi, ya'll. It is a beautiful, winter day here in South Georgia with sunshine, not too cold, fire in the fireplace and have had a great visit with a good friend. What more can you ask for except a hot, fresh cup of coffee in a little while. I hope all of you had a blessed Christmas with lots of family time, good food and good friends and are now excited to be entering a new year.
There is an old saying that you can't go home again and in many ways this is true. Our children wanted to have Christmas at our childhood home in Camden, AL this year and I was not too sure I could handle it emotionally but I agreed to do it for them.
This is our first Christmas without either parent for daddy went to his Heavenly home in June of this year and mama died almost 6 years ago. The house is still almost just like the day mama was taken to the hospital never to come back home with only a few changes. As long as daddy was alive we wanted it to stay like home for him even though we had transplanted him to Georgia to live with us. He never grafted onto our Georgia Peaches and Alabama was home. We have visited the home place and our son plans to retire there some day but it is sometimes hard to go back home when you are now the oldest in the family and your parents are no longer there. It is a strange feeling to be the head of the family and be leaned on rather than have parents to turn to.
I did tell our children and grandson that we would have Christmas there but that I was not going to decorate every surface with red, green, gold and silver like mama did. In fact, I did not even put up a tree for we were only there 2 days before Christmas and I was too busy cleaning and cooking to decorate a tree. I compromised by cutting some big cedar branches, putting them in a crystal pitcher and adding bunches of nandina, red berries around the top of the pitcher. It looked quite festive and Christmasy and smelled liked Christmas with that cedar aroma.
The front door was decorated with the last wreath mama had made and added her welcoming touch to greet family and friends. The chess pies baking in the oven smelled delicious and when we added the turkey breast and fresh greens to the mix, it smelled even better. The gifts were great, the dinner delicious and the love which wrapped us in warm arms made a wonderful day.
Now I began by saying you can't go home again and you can't if you expect it stay the same forever. That home has experienced births, deaths, marriages, and all the other life experiences every family has for life is ever changing, as it should. Two of us moved into that house as small children and one came there from the hospital and we grew up, married and started our own families in other places and our parents grew old and moved on to their heavenly home. It was a home filled with life, love and change but a home we loved and visited often but it is not the home of our childhood and will never be the same again.
It was a moment I dreaded but it wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be. When I stepped into the house I knew I was home again and even though it's not where I now live and call home it is filled with wonderful, precious memories that will always be there to be treasured and be thankful for. Now we will create our own Christmas memories as our family meets there, laughs and remembers the good and difficult times spent in that home.
Several people I talked with during the week spoke fondly of the good times spent around the kitchen table drinking coffee, eating great food and talking for hours. It is a memory they treasure and so do we and we still are sitting around the kitchen table drinking coffee, eating good food and talking for hours. I can see mama, daddy and our brother Arvin looking down from heaven and smiling if they have time.
It is changing though for we put in a satellite for TV and are adding Internet for our laptops and I can just hear daddy wondering why we are spending all that money and mama saying why have we waited so long. Our granddaughter and her 2 year old will be moving there next month while her husband is in Iraq and it will be filled with the patter of little feet, laughter and life again. How wonderful for it is a home used to life and I am sure it has been lonely these past years.
I went home again and it was good. It was a thoughtful time for me for as we grew near Camden, memories flooded my mind of places and people from the past and the wonderful years of growing up in a small town. The town is somewhat the same and I saw people from my past and then realized it wasn't them but their children or grandchildren. Those strong genes are seen in facial features, hair color, they way they walk or the way they talk. It is home and I love it though I probably will only visit. You can go home again and it was good.
The Georgia Peach who will always be a Bama girl at heart