If you have a family, you probably experienced a lot of commotion around your house at Christmastime. Christmas has that something-special charm that just calls for families to be together. We don’t always see eye to eye, but during the holidays season we tend to become more tolerant and become a little more mellow than normal.
Mary Ann and I lead a very mundane life until holidays come around. And suddenly, our quiet home life becomes a pleasant, lively place as it's invaded by kids and their own kids.
Of course, we dearly love this momentous interruption. We always say there are three things that are most important in life: family, friends and faith. We love everything about these three F’s. While there are many more facets of life that are important, these are the most cherished. Of course, our faith always centers on attending Mass on Christmas Eve with family.
Immediately, the grandkids head for the big television set in the family room, where they perform the ritual of hooking up some strange devices. Suddenly these ugly images appear on the television screen, and all kinds of action is taking place. The second thing they do is inflate the mattresses they will sleep on during their stay at Gramma’s house.
Our 13-year-old grandson, Samuel Wilsdorf of Rolla, Mo., is an active teen who loves doing things. As far as old Gramma and Grampa K are concerned, he is a human dynamo with enough energy to light up the whole area. Samuel loves driving the Kawasaki Mule and, this year, our Arctic Cat snowmobile. Of course, with no snow last year, this pesky machine did not get run throughout the year. With old gas or something in it, it refused to start, so we trucked it off to our trustworthy snowmobile mechanic. In record time, he had this unruly machine running like a clock. Then it certainly got limbered up and spent many an hour traversing the acres of the K-mini-farm.
Samuel is an innovative young man. He figured that if he could get a rope wrapped around one of the giant limbs of the maple tree in our front yard, he could rig up a swing and jump off into a snow bank. Of course, Grampa had to loosen up the old tractor and loader and make a huge pile of snow that Samuel could bail into. As if that weren't enough, he took the old aluminum scoop shovel and made a roomy cave in this snow pile. Samuel is an outside kid and loves outdoor activities, so most of the time we would find Samuel outside either swinging and jumping or hanging out in his snow cave.
He was joined by Olivia, 10, and the only granddaughter. She is one very lively young lady who does everything with enthusiasm. She is into gymnastics, and every day she is performing cartwheels across the living room and standing on her head or doing handstands. Of course, being the only girl among the grandchildren, she is the queen of the entire family. And she rules her kingdom with great aplomb. Her every wish is granted by her adoring cousins, who seem to relish paying attention to her at all times.
Olivia is in training for kitchen duties and is mentored by her Gramma K, with many baked goods coming from her kitchen, with Olivia doing the honors of preparation. Her favorite is sprits, which she has become skilled at making.
So the K-house becomes a flurry of great and strenuous activities during the holidays. And of course, Gramma and Grampa just savor every moment spent with our posterity.
We begin each day with a rendezvous around the kitchen table partaking of fresh brewed coffee and the baked offerings of Gramma K’s kitchen. Most of the day, we are around the kitchen table swapping tales and telling of recent experiences, or remembering days gone by that were very memorable and worthy of note.
Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. Write him at email@example.com. His column publishes Mondays.