Holidays make her want to go back in time

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sometimes I’d like to close my eyes, open them and find myself miraculous transported back in time. The Christmas season is one of those times.

It is not that I don’t love every moment of my life these days, but it would be fun to experience the sweetness of childhood again. And to know what I know now and return to that innocence would be especially fun.

My eyes would blink open to the downtown Opp of Christmas past. I’m standing outside of Zeb’s Cakehouse and the smell of doughnuts and cookies hangs in the air.

People fill the sidewalks and I pass friends and their parents on my way to Main Street. At the corner where Dean’s Pharmacy sits, I look up at the colored lights strung from pole to pole making a canopy over my head as I cross the street.

A huge lighted tree stands beside the post office and a smiling Santa waves at me from the window of the Western Auto. Toyland lives inside that store with magic sitting on the shelves and spilling out onto the floor.

The air is cold as a group of us makes our way home from town to East Park Avenue. We run and race and skip in the waning light of a winter afternoon, so full of energy our skins hardly contain it.

Christmas is coming and we are counting not just the days but also the hours until that wondrous morning. Times moves at a crawl as we anticipate the glories to come.

When we reach the corner of my block, we see the lights shining in the big evergreen tree in front of my house. Daddy spent a few hours on a ladder carefully weaving lights in and out of the branches. Now it is a beacon welcoming me back to the warmth and security of home. Neighbors scatter making their way to their own houses. We call goodbye promising to meet again in the morning.

The sound of music slips out from beneath the front door as I make my way up the walk. There is a Christmas tree sparkling in the living room window, one we chose with great care when we visited Christmas Tree Land.

I open the door and there are Mother and Daddy listening to an album of carols as they enjoy a late afternoon cup of coffee. Assorted children play on the floor in front of the tree, the colored bulbs creating a rainbow that surrounds them.

I remove my coat and take a seat in the rocking chair beside the fireplace. The chair rocks in rhythm with the notes of Jingle Bells. My eyes close and I dream of elves and reindeer.

When my eyes blink open, I’m back in the present, all grown up and sitting in a chair beside the fireplace in my own home. There is a sparkling tree, a lighted mantle and the sound of carols. I sit with my memories, smiling as I feel again the joy of those long ago days.

No magic can return us to the past. Time moves only in one direction and we must move with it. That is the way life works and to wish for anything different is folly.

However, it’s nice to recall the sweetness of being a kid, days that passed more swiftly than we imagined they could. I can’t close my eyes and open them to find myself in the town and the home of my childhood. That’s a place that exists only in my memory.

Still, I am grateful for the way my life was once upon a time, for the feelings that return when I remember that magical place. And I’m thankful to be here, right now living to experience another Christmas.

As my wise cousin, Pat, says, “Life is good.”

It was good when I was growing into the me I am today and it is good today as I watch the lights twinkling on my tree.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.