Christmas dinner is over. It was a quiet one this year - just Mom, Dad, and me. Not like when I was a kid and the house was full of people. Gosh there were lots of us. We lived up North then - where Christmas really felt like Christmas because it was cold and there was snow. We live in the South now...mainly because it's not nearly as cold and there's rarely any snow.
Back when I was a kid, there were always at least a dozen people at the dinner table for every holiday. We'd celebrate at my Grandma & Grandpa's. They would spend hours and hours cooking. Mom & Dad would help. No matter who else would come, it was guaranteed that my Uncle Everett and Aunt Iole would be there. And, my Uncle Donald and Aunt Hazel would be there, too. ALWAYS.
And, ALWAYS, Hazel (like the rest of the family) would sit down at the table and build a plate a food made up of delicious roasted turkey and dressing - with homemade croutons, mashed potatoes...the real ones, gravy, cranberry salad, an assortment of vegetables and salads. There'd be dinner rolls - homemade from scratch - and real butter to put on them. The food would go on and on. It would fill the center of the table, line the buffet on the side of the room, cover the cutting boards set on top of the radiators, and fill two card tables set up along the other wall. Plus there'd be more out in the kitchen. But ALWAYS, Hazel would comment on how good the pickles were! I never remember her ever commenting on anything else. Not one of the delicious dishes slaved over by my parents or grandparents. But she sure liked those jars of pickles from the grocery store. No matter the holiday, she pointed out how good they were. I'd give anything for her to be alive today and have her comment on the pickles Mom and Dad served with dinner.
She'd have had something else to comment on today. You see, Hazel was one member of our family who was always mindful of my weight. "Charmi, honey, you're rear is getting bigger. Perhaps you shouldn't have such a big piece of pumpkin pie today." Nope, she wasn't afraid to point it out if I was gaining weight. However, she was also quick to point it out if I was losing weight! "Why Charmi, I think you're losing weight! I can see it in your knuckles!" That was Hazel! She always saw by butt getting bigger and my fingers getting smaller. It was never the other way around!
This Christmas, she would have seen my knuckles about 50 pounds thinner. She probably would have even pointed at my knuckles with a baby gherkin as she told everyone that I was losing weight. And, I would have been so proud, I'd have taken a smaller piece of pumpkin pie to make sure my knuckles kept getting smaller - because they still have more to lose.
Merry Christmas, Hazel! (And Donald, Everett, and Iole...and Grandma & Grandpa and Grandpa. I miss you all so much!)