The favorite Christmas ornament.
There is always one. There is. It’s the favorite Christmas ornament. The one that means the most to you. The one that brings back all the memories of the person who gave it to you. The one that is sentimental, special and pretty all at the same time.
My favorite is one my grandma made. We got them from her when we were little kids. I remember they came in a skinny white box with tissue paper. We opened the box and there were four yarn angels. One for each kid. Two with blue eyes and two with brown eyes, like us. Handmade. Handmade with love. The grandma kind of love. The special love. They were made of white yarn and the eyes were a stitch of colored thread. Blue for me. My eyes are blue. This ornament has been with me since she gave them to us. I think I have had it for over 40 years. It is my favorite ornament. I have to find it every year. It goes on the tree every year. Ummmm, but I can’t find it this year. I have no idea what happened to it. I believe it is here somewhere. I just can’t locate it this year.
We have an attic that holds all the Christmas stuff and other storage items. I don’t go in it. It is like you’re going into the Upside Down. Not even kidding. It is inside the closet of one of the upstairs bedrooms. It has a short little door, which is super creepy anyway, and is freezing cold in there. I made John go look for the angel. When he was crouched over going through the door it completely creeped me out. He looked like a giant going into the small world. I had the urge to slam the door shut. I refrained. You’re welcome John. It was disturbing. Watchers of Stranger Things will know what I’m talking about when I talk about the upside down.
He said he looked in all the boxes and still couldn’t find the angel. I was tempted to go in and do the real look. Because, let’s face it, he probably missed some boxes. I couldn’t force myself to do it though. It makes me sad he couldn’t find it. I still think it has to be there somewhere.
I remember my grandma well. Her name was Esther Elnore Anglin. She had the most soft-spoken voice. She wore glasses and was not a very big lady. I always remember her with white hair or blue hair, as some people describe the grandmas.
She lived in a trailer house in Vermillion, when we were little. We visited her quite often. So many memories of her then. I have written about her before. The experiences at the trailer. The mustard seed necklace was one particular post. That still makes me sad to think about that. Here is the link if you want to read that one. http://peggielarsen.com/distant-memories/
Grandma visited us a lot. The Euclid house, the Central house, the Prospect house, and then at the golf course house. The golf course house was the last house my parents lived in before Dad died.
Another tradition, and one I have not been able to replicate, was Grandma’s sugar cookies. The melt-in-your-mouth kind of cookies. The perfect cirlce. She didn’t use cookie cutters either. One just like the other, none out of place. The perfect color, not too light, not too dark, just right. They tasted amazing. They were my favorite cookie she made. They were perfect cookies. No uneven or cracked edges ever. I have the recipe and have tried numerous times to make them. They don’t taste the same and they don’t look the same as Grandma’s. I follow the recipe exactly and they still don’t turn out.
Grandma also used to make the Danish pancakes or ebelskiver. Round pancakes. Delicious pancakes. I also tried to replicate these and did a pretty good job. You need to use a special pan, an ebelskiver pan because you have to flip the ball halfway through cooking, just like normal pancakes, except there were round balls. You could flip them using a knitting needle or a skewer. Then they were doused with butter and sugar and eaten as fast as they were cooked. You could put syrup on them as well, but I don’t like syrup so I just used butter and sugar.
When she would come and visit the Euclid house she always brought long johns and colored peppers. I have no idea why we got that combination. The peppers were always giant and so fresh, crispy and crunchy. The long johns were from the bakery in Vermillion, I believe. Nobody makes long johns like that anymore.
Grandma had great manners too. She was staying at my and John’s house. It may have been after dad died. I’m not sure. I made a big batch of chicken noodle soup. Instead of telling me she didn’t like carrots, she just politely moved them to the side of the bowl and never said a word. I always found that so interesting and polite. I never knew she didn’t like carrots.
When Grandma moved from Vermillion, she lived in Viborg. She baked all the time and was known as the cookie lady. All the church functions. All the Grandma cookies. Many different varieties. Always delicious. She also made fudge and divinity. Ever tried making divinity? It is messy. Yeah, I tried that too. Once.
Grandmas make everything special. Things taste different when grandmas make them. They just do. Maybe it’s the years of experience making it. Maybe it’s the special grandma touch. Maybe it’s the grandma love. Whatever it is though, it cannot be replicated. It cannot be copied. It’s grandma special.
Grandma died on September 11 in 2002. Peacefully in her chair, with her cup of coffee and book by her side.
(the picture is an ornament that is similar to the one grandma gave me. Similar, yet different)