September 2, 2016

O, Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

'Tis the season! I don't know what exactly triggered this memory, but I know some of my more "advanced in age" cousins will remember the Elling family Christmases at the American Legion in Napoleon. The image of Aunt Kate (and others who were able) singing "O Tannebaum" is so clear. In my child's mind, I always felt guilty for not singing along, but I could never get past the first four words!

I am amazed now at all the Christmas gifts Aunt Kate bought for everyone. I know somewhere deep in a box somewhere lies a white handkerchief with a tatted turquoise border and elsewhere is a nylon, lavender apron trimmed in lace, too delicate to really wear for cooking. I was never exactly sure of its purpose, hence I don't think it's ever been worn. Another year all the girls received little coin purses. I know my mom received a quilt from her one year. How did Aunt Kate accomplish this?

I can't talk about this family gathering without mentioning the card playing among the men with the German interspersed with English remarks, the circle of women who cooked and baked the best food ever...especially the German coffee cake, and the children who took awhile to warm up to each other, but then by the end of the evening, the running and sliding would begin.

I just really have fond memories of those days with our extended family.

(Originally published December 3, 2008)

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