I know some of my readers and FB friends probably get tired of my pining for
all most things New England and especially New Hampshire, but there’s just something about growing up in a particular part of the country that gets into your blood and New England is no exception.
I grew up where the history of the birth of our country abounds, taking field trips to Boston and surrounding areas, where I’ve been in buildings that were constructed in the 1600’s–amazing! (I doubt much of today’s housing construction will be standing 400 years from now.) I’ve been on the Mayflower II, seen Plymouth Rock and been to the Plimoth Plantation, which is a living museum and hosts different events, including a Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, anyone driving into or out of Boston has seen the Bunker Hill Monument. I’ve also been to Paul Revere’s house, John/John Quincy Adam’s house and the Old North Church. I only remember the shop at the Adams’ house (I think it was the Adams’ house), where I bought a black-and-white poster of the midnight ride of Paul Revere. Some of these sights can be seen if you walk the Freedom Trail in Boston. If you ever get to New England or Boston, be sure to look these things up. There is so much to do and see, that you’ll probably only get to a small fraction of it, but it’s well worth the time.
I always tell my children, one of whom may be old enough to remember our family trip to the Old North Church, the story of my visit there when I was a child. At that time, tourists were still allowed to climb the stone stairs of the steeple up to the little window that looks out over the Charles River. It was there that the lanterns of the “one if by land, two if by sea” were hung to warn of the British. I remember climbing those stairs and looking out that window. When you think of what happened there and know you are looking out that same window that those lanterns were hung, it is just really cool, especially for a child! The last time we went there, the steeple was blocked off from the public; I’m not sure when or if it’s available to climb now, although the church, itself, is still worshiped in every week.
Anyways, there’s a lot of wonderful things to do and see–this only scratches the surface. What I also miss about New England are the seasons. Autumn is my favorite, but I do miss the winters as well, especially this time of year. Except for my Southern Man, our family equates Christmas with scenes like this:
Of course, this may not be the scene for this coming Christmas. The last I heard, it’s a bit warm up there right now, but as the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes. (I used to think this saying was unique to New England, but it seems to be a nationwide idiom.) We didn’t always have white Christmases, but the probability was much higher up there than here in Lower Alabama, where it is a balmy 77 degrees. There are still lots of decorations and tree-lighting ceremonies with hot cocoa, but I think the hot cocoa is more symbolic than anything. Who wants cocoa when it’s near 80? Sweet tea seems more appropriate. Oh well, I guess it’s the spirit of the season, not the temperature and refreshments that matter, huh?
There are some positives to warm Southern Christmases: you can actually put your poinsettia plants outside without them freezing and you can put up your lights and decorations without getting stiff, frozen fingers. There’s nothing like putting up stiff frozen strings of lights with stiff frozen fingers. I admit I don’t really miss that! Still, though, Christmas isn’t quite the same without cold temperatures and, most preferably, the white stuff.
There are also other reasons that I’m feeling nostalgic. Some of it is being so far from where my children and I grew up and from our family and friends up there, and also missing those loved ones that have passed on. Some of it has to do with something else that I’m keeping mum about, for now. Nothing bad, just another bump in the road of life.
Meanwhile, I hope you are getting into the spirit of Christmas–the true spirit. What it all comes down to is love–God’s love for us and being with those you love and that love you. Gifts, material things, they don’t really matter in the grand scheme of life and we try not to get caught up in it. Partly because we can’t afford to! 😉
I laugh, on the one hand, but feel disappointed and embarrassed on the other, when I see people stressing, pushing, fighting, and even killing each other over the latest gadget, toy, or anything material. It’s just stuff and none of it really matters. That’s not what this most wonderful time of year is about.
Tomorrow, I’ll share a neat little poem by Valerie Plowman that ties many of our Christmas symbols with the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Also, there is a neat little book for children, “A Place For Santa – A Legend For Our Time,” By Jeanne Pieper. You’ve probably seen figurines of the Kneeling Santa. It’s a nice tie-in for our modern traditions to the original meaning and my children loved to hear this story, among others.