There was Helmer and Hjalmer and Oscar and Carl,©11/15/2015 Carol Welch
seven laughing girls, hair romped to a snarl.
There were Edna and Agnes and Butchie and Karen,
Wed-haired Aunt Waura, who, coats we were wearin',
made over from Mama's to lovely fresh style.
Grandpa, white-mustached, looked on with a smile,
awaiting the opening of gifts he had made,
doll cradle, bow-gun, toys with glad hours he'd paid.
The boys in plaid jackets, pants of corduroy,
big ones giving small ones a toss, bringing joy.
Harold and Velores with colorful ways,
her gift wraps unique, his productions we'd praise,
welding the useful from what had been trash,
and his hearty laugh would burst forth in a flash.
Uncle Pete would charm children with tales of the wood,
with cute little creatures both naughty and good.
Hearty Uncle Hjalmer and Auntie Christine,
his manner, faked gruffness, her bearing pristine.
Soon, even the children, absorbed in their play,
would be drawn to the aroma of feast on the way.
The roast and roast poultry, seasoned, cooked to a T,
table soon surrounded to capacity.
Competition to move from kids' table that ensued,
was hushed by allurement of delicious food.
Mashed potatoes with gravy seasoning flawless,
the dressing to excel would border on lawless.
Lefse buttered, some defile it with sugar or jam,
Lutefisk , transluscent but firm, thank you, Ma'am.
Cranberries, glistening, bring tang to the taste,
and Auntie's plum pudding would not go to waste.
Oh, the delicious pies, pumpkin, apple, mince meat.
ice cream kept cold in canvas freezer, what a treat,
and whipped cream piled high, whipped in the new Mixmaster,
finish of the feast; to the tree, who was faster?
The story of Christmas Mama read reverently,
reminding us Christmas was more than a tree.
And Dad, for a change, from his overalls free,
would offer his lap to a daughter like me.
First Grandpa and Agnes's gifts passed around.
each child giving a hug for the precious gift found.
Embroidered jersey gloves, a bracelet with name,
boys,authentic tools, small ones: books or game.
Next came the mystery: who got our names?
one by one, eager opening by candle's flames.
Then an uncle, perhaps Hjalmer, in Santa Claus suit,
for years, saved for Christmas. We gave a glad hoot.
Apples and peanuts and striped candy cane.
Some sleepy eyes would droop, coats gathered again.
Some never were ready this late night to leave
the jolly glad warmth of the bright Christmas Eve.
The kitchen was bustling with cleanup and then,
would dishes that were brought here get home again?
No one left the hostess, though sleepy kids waited,
with mess that one person would be inundated.
Then off to the road in the thirty-seven Ford,
with four sleepy children and parents aboard.
Still waiting were stockings to hang up at night,
to be filled by brownies with practical delight.
Mittens all darned with new ones replaced,
blouse showing wear, with one trimmed in lace,
socks kindly knit, warm wool ones for cold,
good Daddy and Mama, their love warmly rolled..
This little great grandma recalls, with damp eyes,
wondering what precious grandchildren prize.