From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering Christmas dinner
Tomorrow most of us will be enjoying Christmas dinner with family and friends. I’m remembering Christmas dinners back when I was a kid growing up on the ranch. (It’s always amazing how much I don’t remember.)
During the years that I was up to 8 or 9 years old, our family often went to Grandpa and Grandma Osborn’s house for Christmas. They lived on a ranch on Deer Creek which is over the hill from our family ranch. My aunts and uncles and their families often went, too, so there were sometimes lots of cousins to play with at the house.
My sisters and I really didn’t want to go anywhere on Christmas. After all, we had just received new toys and wanted to play with them. Dad said that we should spend time with our grandparents, so we did the morning chores and fed the cows and got ready to go. We were not allowed to take our new gifts — to avoid sharing squabbles, no doubt.
We drove down the Morapos Road to the Deer Creek turnoff and then up the county road to Grandpa and Grandma’s ranch. Their house was rather small but nice. There was an enclosed front porch, a kitchen, a dining room with a big table and chairs, and a small living room that always reminded me of a “parlor” that I read about in stories. There was a bedroom downstairs with a great big bed. It was Grandma’s room. A narrow stairway led to upstairs bedrooms, one of them was Grandpa’s room.
I think that the adults probably ate dinner at the dining room table, depending on the number of people who showed up. I don’t remember about the kids; we probably ate in the kitchen.
Christmas dinner was turkey with all the trimmings. The women contributed salads, vegetables, rolls, and desserts — their specialties. There were lots of pies, too, with pumpkin and mincemeat being most common. Everything was made from homegrown produce, and that may have included the turkey.
After dinner the men retired to the living room to visit, although they may have gone outdoors to smoke, and the women cleared off the table and washed and dried the dishes. We kids most often went upstairs to talk and play. I can still remember the smell of Grandpa’s pipe tobacco. We were very careful to not get into anything or make a mess. We would have been in big trouble.
Grandma subscribed to lots of different magazines, and she kept them in a box or other container near the kitchen or dining room. One I especially remember was Woman’s Home Companion (or something like that). I loved to read and we didn’t have many magazines at home so if there weren’t many kids my age to play with I probably spent Christmas day reading.
If we had to do evening chores, we left our grandparents’ home before dark. If not, we might have stayed for a light supper of leftovers. One thing was for sure — we kids were happy to get back home to play with our new things before bedtime.
Enjoy your Christmas dinner!
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