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Friday, January 4, 2013

Over the River and Through the Grandma's Condo

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved so Currier and Ives can adopt Aunt Lurlean

If you are of the Boomer generation, pre or slightly post, you probably grew up seeing Currier and Ives Christmas cards displayed around the house or on the tins holding the ten ton fruit cake.  Christmas Eve or Christmas Day found you at Grandma’s with plenty of room to run around with all the cousins. Later you would be seated at the “kids” table for real mashed potatoes, string beans, and ham or chicken and dressing, before diving into the mounds of Christmas presents piled under a real Christmas tree.  At least that is how I remember it, but families have changed since Currier and Ives as my friends and neighbors will tell you.   

  “We had the grandkids for five days.  I’m plumb wore out.”

 “Glad this is over with.”

 “Why would you put people who don’t even speak to each other during the entire year together in the same room on the same day and expect them to be civil to each other? It is just stupid.”

 “I know there were only six of them, but it felt like a whole herd had moved in.”

 “Whee, I’m free!  No more cooking three meals a day for four days for twelve people in a kitchen designed for two!” 

“I hinted to my son-in-laws that the pine needles on my roof needed sweeping off…they agreed.” 

“We managed to get through it.”

 “Over the River and Through the Woods” kept playing in my head against a snowy Currier and Ives backdrop. Time to read between the lines and remind myself they didn’t have an Aunt Lurlean, at least that they would admit to.

 First, if you could get to Grandmother’s house in a horse drawn sleigh over snow without freezing to death, she must not live very far.  No five hour trips in a car.  Unless that sleigh was from “Back to the Future” there were no electronic games or DVD players in that sleigh so rather than bickering or aiming their blaster ray guns at each other, siblings would huddle together for warmth and encourage each other to cross the imaginary DMZ line drawn in the middle of the seat.  The one horsepower sleigh would get good hay mileage, so no thirty minute detour hunting for a gas station so Aunt Lurlean could save 2 cents a gallon on gasoline.  “The horse knows the way…” thus avoiding backseat driving or complaining from Aunt Lurlean that the On Star guy’s accent is not Southern.

The farmhouse is pictured as a two story job with a candle glowing in every window, obviously low maintenance.  Aunt Lurlean would require a generator as backup to avoid stress over possible downed power lines resulting in a semi-microwaved turkey.  The barn offers a place for the children to expend their energy.  Today Grandma may live in a condo and more than likely the pool and game room will be closed for the holidays forcing Aunt Lurlean to invent new games to occupy the children:  Monotonous, Scraping, Family Feuding, Twisted, Name that Dish, Repo Man, Dueling-in-laws, and Angry Bird-Brains.

Currier and Ives would have their family gathered around the Christmas tree and all would be able to trace their family tree with multiple branches down to one root.   Today’s family tree would resemble a stick with so many grafts that no one knows where the original root system began, well except for Aunt Lurlean and she’s keeping those skeletons locked in the closet ... temporarily.

 “Over the river and through the highway to Granny’s condo we go.   Lurlean knows the way to avoid the tolls through the gray and slushy snow, oh.”   Ok, so that’s not the words.  But we didn’t have Currier and Ives Christmases either. The only thing today that resembles a Currier and Ives Christmas is those tins with the fruitcake in them.  I think it is the same fruitcake.


Joanne said...

Jody that is such an accurate picture. And we'll do it all again next year!

Sharon said...

Fantastic job Jody. I could see everything you described and laugh at the memories of Christmas past where we sat at the kids table and played in the barn.

Ours wasn't quite that bad, but the two just-turned-three-year-olds used me for a trampoline and a backstop for their new ball. Our fruitcake was make by my granddaughter-in-law who made sure it was fresh and full of rum. (She doesn't like brandy.) Can hardly wait until next year.