**Disclaimer: If any of my brothers read this and find that the facts are not accurate, I apologize, but it DID happen and forgive me if the details are not exact***
Looking back on the Christmas seasons of my childhood brings an eclectic deluge of memories. I can remember hearing the rustling of bags and packages late at night while my mother and aunt whispered excitedly, and my father’s footsteps while I lay in my bed pretending to sleep. One Christmas Eve we had a snow storm complete with thunder and I remember standing on my bed and peeking out the window hoping to see Rudolph’s nose glowing through the snowy night. Rehearsals with the children’s’ choir and special holiday dresses, one purple crushed velvet long skirt in particular, along with the feeling of an excited queasy stomach are among my memories. When I was a bit older I recall walking downtown with my friend after school to do some Christmas shopping with our babysitting money, and returning home to the smell of cookies baking. I recall that it was my job to help wrap gifts, and I loved the scotch tape with the Christmas designs embossed on it. I also enjoyed the time my brothers and I spent inventing games for ourselves.
Of all the events, sounds, smells, and feelings that I remember it is something that happened at some point during the Christmas season that always makes me chuckle. It was perhaps during the week off from school after Christmas, or a Christmas Eve afternoon. My 3 brothers and I were goofing around, as kids are likely to do when at loose ends. Someone decided that we would play a game of jumping over someone’s leg. One of us sat in the chair just inside the living room wearing a Christmas stocking on their leg and sticking it out while the others took turns running from the kitchen into the living room jumping over it just as they came through the doorway. Our house was small; it was originally someone’s 2 bedroom summer cottage that my parents made into a 3 bedroom by some strategic wall building as their family grew. So it was understandable that the doorways were so low that a 6 foot tall man had to duck his head to walk through the doorways in the house. At any rate, of my 3 brothers, brother number 2 was the tallest, even at a young age. In third grade he was taller than his teacher by at least a head, and it may be that this was the age at which he last played this jump over the leg game. I’m not sure if it was my leg or brother number one’s leg but when it was number two’s turn, he ran, he jumped, he hit his head on the top of the door jamb and howled. The rest of us, of course, rolled on the floor laughing and that is all I remember about it. I am sure my mother must have come running to find out what number two was crying about, and I’m sure the rest of us got into some trouble. Number two is no worse for the bump; he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at a private college. I’m not sure if my brothers remember that day, no one ever mentions it when we are all together. How funny that I don’t remember any of the many gifts I received for Christmas, but I remember a silly game and my poor brother hitting his head.