When we were first married, we lived in Chicago while all the rest of our family lived south, mostly in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. So we would travel south as soon as we could and spend a week or more at our parents houses. At my family, siblings would come in and stay a while also. My sister Sherry lived in Arkansas, and always came to my parents house for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It was always a very special time. Some of the best memories of those days were the times we would stay up late into the night playing 42 and talking. Fork those who may not know, 42 is a domino game sort of like spades or bridge but played with dominoes. Legend is it was invented in Texas when churches frowned on card games, but dominoes were somehow okay. (This past weekend at my in-laws, we have finally managed to teach enough of our kids to play that we had two tables going at once!)

We would start playing about 9 or so at night, and sometimes the games lasted into the wee hours of the morning. One of my fondest memories was the time my nieces and nephews fell asleep under the dining room table as we played and slammed dominoes on the table above them. Somehow, with everything going on in our lives, we always managed to get together in December, up until my parents’ deaths a couple of years back.

Now we seem to have succumbed to the busyness of the season and life in general. My children are grown, Lindsay has to work around her husband’s family schedules, kids have jobs, my nieces and nephews have scattered, have jobs and kids of their own. So we don’t get together like we used to, and I miss it quite a lot. A treat this year was one of my nieces got stranded last night at DFW airport by a mechanical problem and spent the night with us. Another treat was this beautiful gift, the Santa, from my sister (hand made by the mother of her daughter-in-law).

20111221-092101.jpg It is a wonderful thoughtful gift from my sister, and just makes me realize how important family is and how much I miss seeing them all.

Merry Christmas, and thanks Sherry!

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