Holiday Season Musings… The Norman Rockwell Christmas

I have this thought and I’ll call it the Norman Rockwell Christmas. Those paintings he made, he made for a reason. They are this stereotypical American, old fashioned Christmas, or old fashioned whatever.

So why did Rockwell paint those paintings? Well, there has to be some truth to them. I think the truth is that for an approximate 80% of all Americans, we have experienced that Christmas at some point in our lives. For some of us, it was our childhood, and for that child whose Rockwell Christmas was their childhood, we can assume that Child’s parents also had the Rockwell Christmas at that time period. It was mutual. The parent was largely responsible for giving it to the child, and consequently, providing that Christmas for the chid, they also experienced it.

The other scenario would be the child that did not experience it growing up. Maybe they came from a foster home, or alcoholic parents, or something along those lines. That person always saw the Rockwell paintings, or they saw those classic Christmas movies on television, and they always dreamed they would, or should have had that. Therefore when that person grows up, they find a way through hard work and fate, that they are able to provide that stereotypical Christmas for their children. In this case it benefits them as much as it does the children.

Now, the third scenario I can think of is the opposite. It is the child that had the Rockwell Christmas while growing up, but no longer has it. This is where I am for some reason, and its not constant. It ebbs and flows, but being at my grandma’s last night and looking at the photos of the times past and thinking about my other grandma and my family. Its just hard.

I can remember Christmas Eves at my Grandma Eddy’s house. The whole family there. All crammed into her little house. The tree would be up and she would make sure that she had a present for everyone. Uncle Lloyd would be there telling stories about how Iron City was the best beer ever. My uncle Frank would park his red Dodge pickup in the front yard. Grandma didn’t have two nickels to rub together and everyone knew it. No one wanted her buy them anything, but she always did, even if it was just a couple pair of socks from the D&K store. My cousin Billy would be there, and my Uncle Frank. There was always this rum cake she would make that was to die for. We always felt like we were getting away with something by eating it, as if we’d get drunk off the cake. The drinks were in a cooler out on the screened in porch were it was about 20 degrees, and there would always be someone out there smoking. The was that green porcelain pine tree decoration with the white snow accents and the colored bulbs on the tree branches that lit up. She always had it sitting on this old record player with the top that slid open next to where the recliner sat. There was a heater vent between the recliner and the record player, that was about one foot square, and we would always sit in front of it when the furnace kicked to have the heat blast on us.

After leaving Grandma’s we’d go to church for the late candlelight service. We’d finish by singing Silent Night a cappella by candlelight. We’d leave church and Irwin would be dead quiet. The light at the corner in town would be flashing because it was so late they shut off the actual red and green stop lights. The sidewalk would be lit up with luminaries.

The next day, we’d go to Grandma Pats. The whole family would be there. Aunt Pam and Aunt Bonnie, Uncle Ross and Ian, Colin, and Heather, Aaron and Ashely, my sister. Pap was there. We’d run and play all through the house just having a good time. That’s my Rockwell Christmas. Now, pap is gone, Billy is gone, Grandma Eddy is gone, uncle Frank is gone, Aaron never comes around. Aunt Bonnie moved to Ecuador, Ross is gone, Colin lives in Iceland, Grandma Pat is in a home, Ashley lives in Florida.

How many people out there can replace some of the names I mentioned and have this be their family’s story?