Wellness With Age: A Christmas surprise

Since we are celebrating my fifth anniversary of writing this column, I decided to do something a little different by sharing a childhood memory. I trust you will enjoy it.

My mother loved Christmas. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, we would begin our Christmas festivities.

Each evening we made Christmas treats to share with relatives and friends. These included everything from sugar cookies to her special chocolate fudge recipe, as well as pumpkin and banana bread.

On weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we decorated every room in our house while listening to Christmas carols, and discussed presents and local events. Our father always hung lights outside the house with the help of my brothers.

Decorating the tree was a ritual. On the second Saturday in December, our entire family went out to find a live tree. Some years we drove to one of the U-cut tree farms below Mt. St. Helens and other years we would drive to a tree lot in town.

Once we had the tree home we children waited impatiently while our father secured the tree in its stand and placed the lights around it. Then we joined him and our mother in decorating.

Once we all were happy with the results we would step back and allow my mother to drape the tinsel on the ends of the branches, one strand at a time.

We would drive south to Portland, Ore., to visit relatives and enjoy the Christmas displays in the store windows.

I especially enjoyed the mechanical, moving toys. Often while in Portland our parents took us to Lloyd Center so we could ice skate.

Surprise on ice

One year in the middle of our Christmas activities my mother informed us children that the following weekend there was a special surprise waiting for us. She refused to share the secret yet encouraged us to guess what it might be.

My siblings and I spent the entire week trying to imagine what the surprise could be. Some of my guesses were that cousins would drive down earlier or the other cousins would drive up to spend Christmas with us. My most elaborate guess was the northern lights would finally show that far south so we could actually get to see them. Our parents had as much fun as we did that week.

After a long week of excitement the following Saturday arrived. We drove to Portland, and again enjoyed the window displays and a few hours of ice skating. Then, instead of driving north again, we had dinner in a restaurant and afterwards drove to the Memorial Coliseum where we watched the Ice Capades show. It was enchanting to watch professional ice skaters in sparkling costumes dancing on the ice.

My mother and siblings slept on the drive home while my father drove and graciously listened to my excited chatter about the special Christmas surprise we would always remember.

Remember to enter our contest. Email info@wellnesswithage.com and tell us why you like the Sequim Gazette. Prizes are a signed copy of “Thoughts on Aging Successfully” and a $5 gift certificate for Pacific Mist Books; five names will be drawn; the deadline is Jan. 5.

Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award-winning poet. See crystallinn.com.

Christmas treat

Here is my mother’s fudge recipe for you to enjoy:

Boil slowly for five minutes 4 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 can of evaporated milk and 1/4 pound of real butter, stirring continuously. Remove from heat then add two 1/2 pound of Hershey milk chocolate bars broken into pieces, 1 pint of marshmallow cream and two 12-ounce packages of chocolate chips. Mix quickly and pour into a 9” x 13” buttered pan. If desired add 1-2 cups of chopped nuts.