Christmastime for Me (written Christmas 2003)

Written during the holiday season of 2003:

Last year I wrote a letter entitled “A Letter to My Family at Christmas.” For some reason, I didn’t send it out. Alan has a copy of it in his scrapbook. This year I decided not to miss the opportunity to tell those that are important in my life that I miss them and love them.

So, what does Christmas mean to me? It means lots of memories. Growing up as a Traynum, you can’t help but have memories. I remember all of the guys sitting around in the den at Mama Nan and Papa’s watching football and talking. All of the women were in the kitchen fixing dinner: turkey, ham, fruit salad (which I haven’t had in years), macaroni & cheese, green beans, biscuits, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, and things I’m sure I don’t even remember. Oh, one thing that my Mom always fixed was Watergate Salad. I have no idea if the name came from the Nixon era, but I get a huge kick out of the commercial that’s on TV now with the “that green salad with nuts” that advertises turkey. It’s so funny…but I loved that salad. And the guys would sneak in during commercials and snag a piece of turkey or a bite of something else. I miss those days so much. Nothing will ever compare to that.

What else does Christmas mean to me? Now it means spending Christmas Day with my husband, Scott’s, family. They are a small group compared to the Traynums, but they have their own traditions, very different, I must say. It’s taken me awhile to get used to them, but now I do look forward to it. We have turkey or ham, and we always have a relish tray. I had never heard of this before I got married, but it’s usually black olives, baby gherkin pickles and celery stuffed with cream cheese. They don’t have macaroni & cheese (a staple at EVERY Traynum meal), but usually have potato salad, green beans, maybe broccoli casserole. They use what they have, and the meal may differ from year to year a bit. There are always hot rolls of some kind. One year we didn’t have any, and Scott’s mom asked us to pick some up on the way over Christmas morning. Well, you know the story…no rolls for Christmas that year!

I’ve also included this year a copy of the letter I wrote last year. I feel for me it’s important I say I care to you guys. Many of you I don’t see often or even speak to on the phone. That does not mean out of sight, out of mind. To me it seems that those memories, old and new, shape who we are as people, and you all have an important part in my life.

Now you also have an important part in Scott’s life. He did not grow up with a huge family like I did. Coming to the Traynum reunion each year is now actually very important to him. The first time we ever went together, he was absolutely astonished. He said to me, “You’re related to all these people!?” After attending for about 2-3 years, I said, “Let’s skip the reunion this year.” Bad idea. He said, “Are you kidding? And miss that food!!!!?” As you can see, the way to my husband’s heart is through his stomach.

If I could have three wishes, one of them would be for Scott to be able to meet Mama Nan and Papa. What would he think? Nobody who met them was not a better person for it, and if the way to his heart is through his stomach, he would probably never leave their house! J In fact, for old time’s sake, I’ve also included here a copy of an article that appeared in the Clemson Messenger when Mama Nan and Papa were still alive. It talks about our holidays at their house and even gives some of Mama Nan’s recipes. Oh that there were more grandparents today that were like them. The world would be a better place.

I hope this has brought back some happy memories for you, and that you think about your own memories of Christmas past. Make new memories with those you love, and be thankful that you have one more year to spend with those who are important to you.

With all my love!

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