Flat Anthony

Funny thing about kids, they grow up. We have 2 sons that are growing into such fine young men, we  are so proud of both of them. For Mother’s day a few years ago,our oldest gave me a pillowcase with his picture on it. Seems kind of funny, but I love it. I bring it with us when we travel.

We have been an RV family for about 6 years, and in that time we have traveled thousands of miles around the country. We have been from the Pacific to the Atlantic, summer and winter. Some of our favorite memories happened because of a chance to buy an old RV..As a parent, it has been rewarding to know that we have been able to give the gift of travel and love for our country to our boys.

Our oldest son is now 22 and, as a young man starting out, no longer has the time to take off for weeks or months at a time. When we travel now, I feel a sadness that he isn’t able to continue to share in our adventures. Our remedy? We call it Flat Anthony- the pillow with his picture on it.

Flat Anthony comes along with us whenever we travel, and this last trip, well, let’s just say he had some adventures.  How could we not take him along?

We didn’t want him to miss beach combing, or climbing on the rocks, the dune buggy ride, whale watching, 4th of July or the evening campfire watching the ships on the river.

It clearly isn’t the same as having him along with us, and I sometimes feel guilty having fun without him. We are so proud of all his accomplishments, and maybe some day, when he is older with a family of his own, he will remember his youthful trips and want to do the same with his family.

Ornaments of Life

I must admit, I love Christmas ornaments.   I know  just when my admiration, or maybe obsession, began.  Every year, on Christmas Eve we would have our family Christmas gathering.  Each year it would be at a different family members home. a tradition we still hold.  I think I was about 14 the year my dad’s cousin hosted the party. I can still remember walking inside the house.  My grandmother and her sister in the kitchen readying the various dishes, the younger cousins in the living room  eyeing the packages under the tree.  And there, off to the side- the tree itself.

I made sure I greeted everyone, but that tree, for some reason seemed to draw me back.   It was about 7 feet tall, lush and green.  I can still recall the  smell of  the pine scent mingled with the spiced cider from the kitchen;  see the lights as they twinkled, but all the ornaments that adorned that tree were what truly drew me in.  I don’t think I had ever seen so many ornaments on one tree.

There were  balls of various colors, snowflakes and santa’s and christmas tree ornaments. There were glass and crystal and ceramic ornaments.  The lights sparkled and twinkled as they bounced from ornament to ornament. The tree seemed to be alive and dancing in its corner of the room.  I think the sheer number of ornaments that graced the tree was what was so special.  I remember thinking, someday I would like a tree as beautiful as that.

I started collecting ornaments after that year. I would buy the annual Wedgwood, or Lenox ornaments.  One or two, ok  sometimes 3 or four , each year.   One year, the pen pal I had, in what was still East Germany, sent me ornaments for my tree.  Three dozen ornaments!  One box had a dozen red balls, one had a dozen pastel balls and the third had a dozen pine cone shapes in red green and gold.  I still use those special ornaments each year.

As the years have gone on, I have collected my ornaments, always thinking of that special tree. Each place we travel to, I try to find a representative ornament.  Every year, as we bring out the containers of Christmas decorations, and begin to adorn the tree, we smile as we recall where the particular ornament came from.  The Statue of Liberty from New York, The cable car from San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, Dirty Sally’s in Ten sleep Wyoming.  Decorating the tree becomes more than just placing the ornaments, it brings us together and reminds us of family times and all we have gone through.

Our tree isn’t quite as full as the one I recall in my youth, although I continue to add to the collection each year.   Maybe the tree isn’t completely full, but my life is, and those small ornaments remind me every year of all that we have, and what a joy my family is to me.