PATSY BRUMFIELD: Traditions mean much for holidays

By Patsy R. Brumfield | NEMS Daily Journal

Nearly three months later, I don’t remember many details about my son’s wedding. It was a lovely event.
I remember, though, how nice everybody looked – so happy and fairly glowing with the occasion. Thankfully, we have beautiful pictures.
A few friends and I worked mighty hard on the rehearsal dinner, and it was a resounding success. I remember the compliments.
I probably am not alone in feeling more drained than nostalgic after events like this. Thanksgiving and Christmas, too.
But this is a role I’ve chosen – the celebrator. I inherited it from my mother, who presided over all similar functions in days gone by.
It’s the celebrator’s job to carry forward the family traditions for everybody else.
It’s the celebrator’s goal that these events be so filled with the perfection of joy that no one else will ever forget them.
This lofty goal isn’t always reached, but the intentions are laudable.
I thought about this “celebrator” role on hearing a woman’s radio essay about how utterly worn out she was during and after the holidays.
“Why do you do it?” her husband asked.
She did it for everyone else’s enjoyment, which of course, made her extremely happy.
It’s not always joyful to be the celebrator, but there is indirect happiness.
It’s about making sure there are memories those involved will cherish and recall for years to come.
This holiday season, we’ll gather in the living room and tell stories of Christmases past. I’ll tell about how my mother wouldn’t let us kids into the living room until my railroad-conductor father got home – sometimes several hours after sunrise and we kids were half crazy with anticipation.
We’ll remember the guy at our Brandon church who came to Christmas service in his house slippers. And I’ll tell about the time my mother and sister decided we’d have a “non Christmas” at a state park so my brother wouldn’t think about that very day a year before when his wife died suddenly.
I’ll plan meticulously for some really fine holiday food and perhaps we’ll make Gladys Pickett’s famous oatmeal cookies. One Christmas Eve, we ate so many that our internal organ recitals kept us homebound instead of properly welcoming in the Holy Day at midnight mass.
We’ll dust off the holiday music and rejoice at the beauty of Slim Whitman’s vocals and Liberace’s piano playing.
We’ll remember that Barbie doll house and the He-Man toys that were such a hit so long ago.
And we’ll wait with great anticipation to watch the face of the one who unwraps the annual bestowing of the huge men’s briefs we call The Fat Underwear.
A good laugh is the appropriate reaction, although it hasn’t always worked that way.
Even celebrators can find their fun, too.
Merry Christmas, dear readers.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at

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