Memories of Christmas past

Memories of Christmas past. As we await another Christmas, memories come flooding in.

w Let’s go back to the Alamosa I see in photographs and my own active memory.

w One of my treasures is a photo taken in the 1920s of a decorated tree located at the intersection of Main Street and State Avenue. It was obviously a community project, since some of the decorations appeared to be handmade.

w I wasn’t alive then, but it creates a new memory in my wish that I had been.

wThe huge tree was lit the day after Thanksgiving and Santa was always on hand, usually brought to town via fire engine.

w Today is a time of many trees and Santa still arrives with pomp and joy, usually during the Parade of Lights.

w In the 1950s and 1960s Alamosa, the jolly old elf was in many locations around town. When the Rialto building was also the American Legion, the holiday was welcomed in grand fashion. Santa was there, with bags filled with fresh fruit and traditional candies, then a free movie was shown. 

w The veterans moved to their new home in the mid 1950s and my memories of the old post are vague, a fact I discovered when the theater went up in smoke. The cornerstone is still there.

w Santa appears simultaneously around the area, a fact explained by sponsors as, “Well, he has helpers.”

w It took a long time for me to understand the facts of Santa. My mom’s youngest brother, three years older than me, shared the reality when I was about 10. He went on to become an evangelical preacher.

w I had learned about the Nativity at age three and from about age five well into my teens, I struggled to connect the two.

w I decided Santa began as one of the three wise men who visited the Baby Jesus, bringing precious gifts.

That theory was quickly shot down by religious folks.

The end result was a greater appreciation of traditions. Getting together with a group of friends to sing carols brings the community together.

w I appreciate Las Posadas, re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging as the baby’s would soon arrive. I loved the innkeeper, who made room in the stable.

w Having had three sons, I can’t imagine giving birth in a stable and placing a newborn in a manger, where farm creatures usually dine.

w Still the spirit of Christmas lives on.

w The newspaper received Santa letters which were printed shortly before Christmas.

w Neighborly Christmas wishes kept the mailman busy as cards were delivered in what seemed to be mass quantities.

w Someone asked me the other day if I had all my cards mailed and I felt sheepish, admitting I do most of it online.

w Still, the spirit of days past whispers in the clear winter sky.

All is calm, all is bright ‘round yon virgin mother and child.

w Santa says as he lays a finger beside his nose. “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”