This post about a Christmas family gathering does not come from my experience, but it has, in part, become part of my story.
This month, I stepped outside my comfort zone and volunteered to do something from which, in the past, I probably would have shied away.
The daughter of an ex-coworker and long-time friend posted on social media that she was looking for poetry/creative writing friends to participate in a collaborative project. Not knowing what she had in mind, I threw my comment in and responded with “Ex journalism major and current blogger. Can I help?”. When others asked what she had in mind, she responded with “I need help turning some memories into a poem or short story!”
So, completely against my introverted tendencies, I did something astonishing. I responded with “I’ve been known to create a rhyme or two. You can evaluate it and make your decision.”
She private messaged me and thanked me for responding. Then she explained that she had some memories of Christmas at her paternal grandmother’s house where every year, all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins would gather. Her grandmother has been gone for 3 years now, and she wanted to document those memories in the form of a poem or short story to share with her family. She asked me if I was familiar with “A Cup of Christmas Tea”, and I admitted I was not. But I assured her I could look it up and give the project a stab.
Amanda, the young lady in question, then sent me a little over a page of memories of Christmases spent at her Grandma Pricilla’s house. And luckily for me, I caught a bug and was down and out for a couple of days, so I did not see her email for a bit. Because when I did, and read about her cherished and fun-filled memories, I panicked. What was I thinking volunteering for this gig? I’ve written poetry before, but had never shared it. I’m an introvert. I don’t do this stuff!
But I had made a commitment, and gave it a shot. I sent Amanda a draft, she tweaked one little section, and then told me she liked it!
It was scary for me, but I am so glad I stretched outside my comfort zone.
I hope you enjoy The Christmas Family Gathering and Amanda’s cherished memories.
My first published poem
Janis Menotti says
This is a wonderful poem! Thank you for sharing your talents. Both culinary and literary. I am enjoying them from Austin. Wishing you and your family all the best this holiday season!
Happy holidays to you too, Janis! And thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.
Debbie Smith says
Very nice, reminds me of our Christmas dinner at my Grandma, Carmelita Nichols Steele, when we were small and it was wall to wall people and plenty of food. I know the grown-ups enjoyed it when the weather was nice so the kids could go out and play.
When the grandkids married and started a family there was barely standing room only in her small farm house.
But we had the best of times, no one arguing, everyone talked as cell phone with the Internet had not been heard of at that time.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours.
Debbie, one of the things that inspired me about Amanda’s memories is how potentially universal they could be. Her heart had the potential to resonate with SO many people. I put it to rhyme. But the memories, so relevant to many, came from her. Thank you for sharing, cousin. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Mary Tappe says
An absolutely awesome job Lori! I truly hope this will be cherished by Amanda and her family for many many years and also handed down throughout generations to come. I have a similar experience from my grandfather on my dad’s side of the family. While this man was notoriously known for being a drinker and not always very nice, man could he write some wonderful poetry when sober. I am very fortunately to have a set of poems in his handwriting (scratched out on yellow tissue-like paper in ink) of when everyone was waiting for me to be born. He captured such wonderful memories of what was going on and the feelings of everyone in his poems. I should get them framed to preserve them. I have some some other poems he wrote about Cripple Creek, Colorado where as gold miners they all lived and where my father was born. My mom always said “Dad wasted his talent, he should have worked for a greeting card company”. In high school I took a Poetry & Creative Writing class and discovered I actually liked it and remember I wrote several poems that were fairly decent. My aunt sent one in to some magazine & they published it & I was so excited. It was about my Uncle Doc who we had recently lost to cancer. Sometimes, you just don’t know what is hidden beneath the layers of your life. I thoroughly enjoyed your work, I could envision what you wrote about. Excellent job Lori! (sorry this is so long, you stirred up some memories of my own).
I love your memories, Mary. And I’m very glad you still have some of his work. Both Amanda and her mom shared that her dad was truly touched by the poem when he first read it and they do plan on turning it into a Christmas tradition. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. To say you could envision what I wrote is incredibly rewarding to me. I appreciate you making the effort to let me know.