This time of year is always a great time to reflect on favorite holiday memories, and I thought it might be fun to share one or two of mine.
I spent the first two years of college at North Texas State University (now know as University of North Texas). I was six hours from home, and when I wasn't in class, I was working at the TG&Y near campus.
It was the end of 1981, and Neil Diamond was coming to Reunion Arena in Dallas. I had a date to the concert, so I figured I'd spend the money I'd have used for tickets on a tree. Before I had a chance to get the tree, my date informed me he had to work the night of the concert and had sold his tickets to recoup his costs. (We were college kids; what do you expect?)
My roommate, Nickita, liked Neil Diamond as much as I did, so we managed to purchase a couple of tickets, but I had to spend my "tree" money to get them. It was worth the trade-off, but as Christmas approached, the desire for a tree grew stronger.
I was due to drive back home on Christmas Eve, but on December 23rd, TG&Y put all their Christmas decorations on clearance. An artificial 6' tree was just $13.88. Even a poor college student could afford that. Unfortunately, there weren't many ornaments available, so I went next door to Rite-Aid to purchase a few boxes of simple Christmas balls. A few strands of silver tinsel and stringy, silver icicles helped fill out the tree.
I've upgraded to bigger and better trees and ornaments, but I have such fond memories of that simple tree, which was erected every Christmas for at least 15 years. And I may still have a box of ornaments with a Rite-Aid sticker on it.
Another favorite Christmas memory was shortly after my husband and I moved to Tulsa. It was 1985, and Christmas fell in the middle of the week. I had the whole week off, but Chris only had a couple of days off -- not enough time to get back to Texas to visit family. The weekend before Christmas, I flew to San Antonio, where my parents had moved while I was in college, and my flight back to Tulsa was late Christmas afternoon.
One of the gifts my parents gave us was a blue Playmate cooler in the box. Now, our family eats Christmas dinner around 1:00 in the afternoon, so after we ate, my mother packaged up leftovers and put them in the cooler, along with one of those frozen thingies to keep the food cold. Then we re-boxed the cooler, taped it up, and I checked it as baggage on the flight home.
That evening, Chris and I had a lovely Christmas dinner, just the two of us, courtesy of my sweet mother and that Playmate cooler.