Thursday, January 17, 2008
The holiday season (Christmas and New Year’s) is behind us.
For the Burlesons, it’s all about family, and we stretched ours out as best we could. Our Christmas lasted more than two weeks.
It started with us hosting the big South Reporter bash the Thursday before Christmas.
It’s the only time of the year we get away from pressures of the newspaper office and enjoy special fellowship and fun. There were loads of laughs and a few surprises during the evening – particularly when we presented a new microwave oven to the oldest member of our staff.
As I think I mentioned in an earlier column, I was surprised with golf lessons – a follow-up to the golf clubs I received from my wife the year before.
You will also see South Reporter staff members (at least they better be) wearing new, green jackets. My sports crew – Claude, Mr. White and Ronnie – bugged me and bugged me until I finally surprised them and everyone else on staff at Christmastime.
Next up, the weekend before Christmas, was our annual trek to Alabama for the Burleson family get-together.
We welcomed a new family member this time around. It was the first Christmas for Jake Franks, son of my nephew Chris and his wife Marlana.
It’s hard to believe my sister Vickie is a new grandmother and my mom is now a great-grandmother.
We had joked with Erin, our 6-year-old, for weeks, telling her she’d better get all the attention she could prior to Jake being born, because she would not be the baby anymore.
But she went over to Alabama a few days early, and no doubt about it, she’s still being spoiled.
My brothers-in-law always like to get something they can put together and play with. This time around we gave brother-in-law Roger and sister Gayla one of those outdoor heaters. Of course, Roger, Chris and other brother-in-law Hugh had to put it together that night, right there in the den. Then it was plenty cold enough to take it outside before the Christmas gathering was over and try it out.
It worked well – particularly when we moved it to the small shed (by the way, it is not supposed to be used indoors).
We started our immediate family’s Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve – always opening a few gifts then. We then put out the milk and cookies for Santa Claus and sprinkled some food on the lawn, too, for his reindeer.
It continued from Christmas morning, to that afternoon and several days to follow. It’s still going on – thanks to the tons of Barbie dolls spread across Erin’s playroom.
We had a new tree this year, one of those pre-lit, artificial ones.
But the traditional ornaments make the tree – ones we’ve collected as a family over the years. Those stir the special memories.
Then the first weekend in January, it was time to load up the Expedition and head to Nashville, Tenn., for a late Christmas with Pam’s side of the family.
We pushed it to January 4 because that’s when her sister Jan could come. She lives the farthest away – in Rifle, Colo. We had not seen her in two years.
I think it was one of the best Christmases we’ve ever had in Nashville. Again, it was the first one for a new family member – Kelly, wife of cousin Chris. And they’re expecting their first child, which means Vicki on that side of the family (confusing?) will soon be a grandmother, too, and Pam’s mom will soon be a great-grandmother.
The most special gift I always receive is a family tradition – a box of chocolate-covered cherries. It’s carried on by Pam’s mom in memory of her late husband, Phil. They were his favorite.
And if immediate family wasn’t enough to make this Christmas special, on the way home from Nashville we stopped in Decatur, Ala., to see my best friend Mike and his wife Rhonda.
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