I love this time of year! The sky grows darker earlier, cozy fires warm our homes, and all the kids anticipate the first snow fall. With the frigid air and frosted windows come the onset of reminiscence and reflection. It is this time of year that we recall treasured memories and traditions that were packed away with the decorations last January.
As our family prepares to decorate our tree this year, we have begun to unpack ornaments and revel in the stories each one has to tell. Some tell stories of my daughter learning to use scissors and a glue stick, form letters, paint a snowman. She loves to revisit each one.
Others speak of my own childhood and I take my turn to revisit fond memories. I love sharing stories with my daughter. I often recall holiday dinners at my grandparents’ house. Each year was quite similar to the one before, but special in it’s own right. The moment we walked in the door we were always consumed by the rich aroma of honey ham baking in the oven and potato sausage sizzling on the stove top. We would greet Oma, busy in the kitchen listening to Christmas music, and Opa sitting fireside in his big overstuffed recliner chair. My clever Oma always hid dessert so as to make sure there was some left to enjoy after our meal. Naturally, us kids set out in search of the cookies, crumb cakes, fudge, and pies- we may have stolen a few nibbles upon finding the sweet treasures. When it was time to eat, the whole family would gather around my grandparents’ big oak table (because Oma said it should be so). We feasted, chatted, laughed, and reminisced.
Last year we invited a couple videographers to capture some footage of one of our treasured family meals to share with you. You may have already seen it, but with the holidays upon us again, the video seems appropriate. With three generations in attendance, we were all struck with the blessing that it is to have one another to share these moments with.
It is the creating of memories and strengthening of bonds that make the holiday season so special. I am grateful that, while my grandparents are no longer with us, we continue to gather as a family, all eating together at the table of course, and that my daughter will have her own memories of family Thanksgivings and Christmases to reflect on. It is my hope that you continue to gather with the ones you love, creating your own memories and traditions. I like to imagine that each Hempler’s ham that dons a table is in some way an extension of our table, our family, our tradition of being together. Thank you for joining us.