“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”
~ Bob Hope
Our memories and images of Christmas are certainly varied according to the time and location of where we live. Weather often influences these. Without a doubt, though, visions of falling snowflakes, sleighs dashing through snow, skaters on frozen ponds and mitten-clad children building snowmen – activities all taking place in the grip of winter’s cold – are what usually come to mind this time of year. One only has to look at a Christmas card or listen to Christmas carols to be reminded.
I don’t ever remember a white Christmas in the foothills. Santa Ana winds seem much more likely, especially this year! So far, clear cool days and cold nights with “the stars shining brightly …” will set the scene as we celebrate on Sunday.
Looking back a few years and recalling memories of certain events, especially holidays, can be quite enlightening and surprising. Bob Hope got it right about the “simple things.” Honestly, I remember very few of the gifts I received compared to the many activities around this time. Valley View Elementary was comparable to The North Pole in December – very busy! To keep track of the passing days, construction paper chains were made with alternating red and green links with the final one gold. Lots of ornaments made of clay, Styrofoam, paper mache, Popsicle sticks (to name a few) were in various stages of completion. At some point the school custodians gave up, as floors and desks became covered with glue and glitter. During this time, the chorus was practicing “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Jingle Bells” and individual classes were rehearsing plays.
The last day of school before vacation was the best. Parents would fill the tree-decorated cafeteria to watch the finest of theater and musical talent. After lunch Santa Claus would make a visit to every classroom delivering candy canes and wishes for a “Merry Christmas.” Each year we would try to figure out if Santa was Mr. Owens, the custodian, or Mr. Logston, the principal. Then the “P.T.A. ladies” would bring lace doily-covered trays of homemade icing-decorated sugar and gingerbread cookies around to each class with pitchers red punch.
And then school was let out for two weeks. During this time, families gathered to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah while silently the first day of winter arrived.
Who can forget Bob Hope’s annual USO Christmas shows during the Viet Nam War years? This tradition started in 1948, as Bob traveled worldwide entertaining our U.S. troops in hospitals and often under dangerous conditions in the field, with enemy fire heard in the background. His audiences endured monsoons and the intense heat of the jungles to receive his gifts of laughter and sense of home. “Thanks for the memories….”
No snow or monsoon in the Crescenta Valley holiday weather forecast. The upcoming week brings clear skies along the West Coast with highs in the 60s and lows around 40.
Perfect weather for a sleigh ride (for Santa, anyway)!
“… on Earth peace, good will toward men.” ~ Luke 2:10-11
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at email@example.com.