Christmas Eve…


Jim Jenkins died on Christmas Eve…that’s about all I remember about him personally…that…and that he cut his hand on the tin roof when he was building our barn…I remember there was a lot of blood and he acted like it was nothing…
Granny’s rocker at my current home
He was a strong man…a good man…who loved his family…and did the best he could by them…
I sat in Granny’s rocker on my porch this morning…and looked out at his home place…contemplating Jim…and the family that binds us…his father and my grandfather were half-brothers…
I imagined my great-grandmother sitting in the same rocker…on this same porch…looking out at the same home place…I wondered if he lived there as a boy…I have no idea…
I have no notion why I feel compelled to write about this…what is the lesson that I have to learn…what is the feeling that I want to express…
I remember being in Granny’s living room with all the aunts and uncles and cousins when the call came about the wreck…they were on the way to Rachel’s in Tennessee…
I never knew that people died on holidays…I never knew that Christmas could be a time of sadness…and forever hold painful memories…but then…I was only a child…there was so much that I didn’t know at the time…
I remember how quiet the room got after the call…I don’t remember the funeral…I don’t remember ever talking to Melba about losing her Daddy…I have no idea how her Mother managed to make ends meet after his death…
I feel remorse for not knowing those kinds of things at the time…but I was only a child…
Many Christmas Eves have come and gone since then…and somehow…I’ve grown to expect Christmas to be a time of sadness…at least part of the time…and…I reopen my painful memories like presents under the tree…passing them around for everyone to see…
After all…I’m no longer a child…
Jane
PS…now for…the rest of story…I wrote this piece a few years ago…when I was living in my great-aunt’s home place…my great-grandmother…she would have been Jim’s grandmother…did indeed live with my great-aunt and uncle in her later years…and my grandmother sent her the rocker to use while she was there…
I’m still not exactly sure why I wrote this piece…but it’s one that has stayed with me…through thick and thin and numerous computer crashes…so…I’m sharing it today…Christmas Eve…thankfully I don’t feel the need to reopen the painful memories this year or pass them around again…in fact…I think I’ll see what new things are under the tree…

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