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Another Christmas, Another Time
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 by Dr Andrew Opritza

 

Another Christmas, Another Time

Another Christmas holiday is fast approaching! It seems like only yesterday that I had just endured the agony of removing from the living room the Christmas tree with its many pronged, sharp needles. I still have the scars from countless, previous encounters over the years! But, I’m not complaining, it is a labor of love. I intend to continue having a LIVE tree. 

(I guess the term live is a misnomer, but I think you know what I mean). I have been counseled by my wife, and other well-meaning folks to buy a REAL APPEARNG Christmas tree but that would be celebrating the holiday under false pretenses. I know many folks who do have FAKE trees and state that they love them, but to each his own, I say. 

         Somehow or other Christmas season has changed drastically from the one I first encountered and remembered many years ago. There was a time when Christmas was celebrated for the right reasons, i.e. the birth of Christ and the joy of seeing happy children with their toy cars or dolls which had been given to them by Santa Claus. It paid for the children to be good if they expected gifts on Christmas morning. At least that was the way it was when I was a 5-year-old, in 1932. 

         Of course, times were quite difficult during the early years of the 19 30’s. The depression was in full stride and poverty was rampant. I can remember the exhilaration I felt on Christmas morning when I saw that my stocking which I had hung on a chair was stuffed with goodies. We didn’t have a fireplace so we hung our stockings on any convenient piece of furniture. There was an occasional toy, but the real treats were the stocking’s contents. The orange was especially treasured and hardtack candy was squirreled away to be slowly devoured over the next few days. Candy was a luxury so we had to pace ourselves so that it would last. As I remember, there also were various species of shell nuts in the stockings, but I wasn’t into nuts during those early times – “give me candy” I remember thinking!  No matter how many times I had prayed for a bicycle, my prayers were never answered. I guess going hungry would have been far worse in retrospect but, in truth, I wanted a bicycle!!

         It is now the custom to buy and decorate the Christmas tree days, weeks and sometimes even a month before Christmas. That was not the case in our home. We never saw the decorated tree until Christmas morning when we stealthily peaked at it anytime after midnight – it was awesome!! We thought that Santa had come and had done the good deed. It wasn’t until many years later that the older children were privileged to help decorate the tree with tinsel, ornaments, twinkling red, blue, green and white electric lights and the infamous angel hair. But, by the time we were privileged to help, we tried our best to make ourselves scarce because we knew what we would be in for – we knew what a formidable task it would be! It was almost impossible to find the one bad bulb that had shorted out all the lights on the tree. It wasn’t until much later that tree lights had greatly improved so that if one light blew, the rest continued to do their thing – what a blessing! I won’t say a lot about the angel hair (which was whitish, filmy stuff made from spun glass, I think). It was beautiful when draped over the tree, but once you touched it you were in for some serious scratching and permanent scarring!

         It isn’t unusual now to hear Christmas music being played on the radio and television long before the month of December. And, myriads of Christmas advertisements in the newspapers and holiday Christmas catalogs choke our mailboxes. And, if that isn’t bad enough, our computer mailboxes are inundated with solicitations to buy Christmas merchandise – on sale, no less!!

         Well, the Christmas season wasn’t all that bad for most of us, and we couldn’t buy all the nice things, but at least we were spared all the harassment from ‘fast deals’ promoted on the T.V. and computers, because, there were no TV’s or computers. I saw my first TV picture, such as it was, in 1941; and even when we did have access to a TV, the darn thing was either flipping the picture so much that we developed vertigo, or we encountered the stand-by logo on the screen because no programs were available. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, we always waited with anticipation for the Sears Roebuck catalog --- what more could a fellow want or need!!

         Some of my fondest memories of past Christmases, are not premised on gifts received but of the gentleness of the season itself, and of the closeness and friendship of family and friends. We didn’t have much monetarily, but we had so much more spiritually. It wasn’t unusual to hear wonderful Christmas music sung by roving high school or college choral groups or groups of neighbors belting out, at the top of their voices Christmas music – sometimes the tunes were even recognizable. They were wonderful!!

         Perhaps, in addition to sooty coal furnaces that seemed to go out without rhyme or reason, the transportation problem proved to be most vexing during the holiday season. Although there were airplanes flying commercially, they were limited in scope and availability for most folks. Car transportation was also utilized, but there was no turnpike or modern highway to permit mass travel. In addition, even if there had been good roads, the cars were another matter. It wasn’t uncommon for the cars to suddenly stop running for no apparent reason, and flat tires proved to be a major deterrent for long trips.  There was bus service, albeit limited in scope. Trains were smoky, cold and tedious. It is small wonder, that most folks stayed home or limited their Christmas celebrations to family and nearby friends and relatives.  

         Christmas meals were awaited with great anticipation. No, we didn’t have a large goose, but we did have other goodies. One of the most memorable was a delicious dish called, for lack of a better name, pig-in-the blanket. Not being a cook, I can’t tell you the exact receipt, but it was ground meat (pork and/or hamburger) wrapped in cabbage leaves. The pigs were then cooked along with spare ribs and gobs of sauerkraut. The concoction was then simmered in a large pan for several days. It was the nectar for the Gods! In addition to the pigs, we did have turkey with all the trimmings, on occasion. One Christmas, my father surprised us with a roast pig –apple in mouth, and all! I must admit that the sight of that mishandled creature didn’t do much for my appetite. There was one dish that I will briefly mention only to be complete – pig’s feet in a gelatin base. That, is one dish I would like to forget!! Lastly, and probably best of all were the plum and /or onion pie (placinta). I know the onion pie sounds terrible, but it is delicious.

         I have fond memories of Christmases past, and have photos taken with my box camera to prove it.

         And so, there will soon be another Christmas and another time. I am grateful for the time allotted to me to celebrate the birthday of our messenger of love, Jesus Christ.

Epilogue

         As we proceed along the pathway of life, we create memory signposts upon the sands of time, and it is those signposts that are so wonderful at Christmas time.

          


In one month I will be 94 years old. I have written and self-published five books of short stories under the pseudonym LOFDOC (LOTS-OF-FISHING -DOC) Amazon and Barnes and Noble under the name lofdoc. My last book is titled "LOFDOC THE STORYTELLER" published - 2019. I am a retired medical physician. I had practiced for over 30 years in the specialty of Internal Medicine in the state of Ohio. 

Lofdoc,
Andrew Opritza, MD

 

 

            

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Comments

LC Helms From Central Florida At 12/15/2020 1:45:52 PM

I loved reading this blog. Yes, I too remember those wonderful stockings full of fruit and nuts. What memories. Today these would seem like chunks of coal, but then, so wonderful. Great job!

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10/18/2017

Faculty Interview with Athena Dean Holtz
Bethany Jett
10/16/2017

An Author in the Making
Jaimie Engle
10/13/2017

Faculty Interview with Linda Evans Shepherd
Bethany Jett
10/9/2017

An Acquisition Editors Thoughts on Writing, Teaching, and Acquiring
Deb Haggerty
10/6/2017

The Joys and Challenges of Writing for Children
Crystal Bowman
9/29/2017

Two Secrets to Setting Goals
Andy Lee
9/22/2017

Cross-Training to Become a Better Writer
Andy Lee
9/15/2017

When Publishing Doesn't Go Your Way
Edie Melson
9/8/2017

It's That Time Again! Time to Register for FCWC 2018!
Eva Marie Everson
9/1/2017

The ABC's of Driving Traffic to Your Blog
Andy Lee
8/18/2017

Steady On!
Penny Hunt
8/11/2017

Compelled to Write
Andy Lee
8/4/2017

Letting Go of the Numbers
JoAnne Macco
7/28/2017

Freelancing Offers Freedom a "Real Job" Can't
James Watkins
7/14/2017

Six Tips from Literary Agents
Eva Marie Everson
7/7/2017

What Writers Are Really Worth
David Brannock
6/23/2017

Wisdom in Knowing When to be Quiet
Eva Marie Everson
6/16/2017

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary
Lori Hatcher
6/9/2017

The Winner of our Flash Fiction Contest
Andy Lee
6/2/2017

When You Want to Quit Writing
Meg Gemelli
5/26/2017

Blogging for the Bible Study Writer
Katy Kauffman
5/19/2017

Boomerang Stories
Belinda Grimbeek
5/12/2017

What's Holding You Back?
Tina Hunt
5/5/2017

Using Flash Fiction to Test Your Ideas
Tez Brooks
4/28/2017

How to Prepare for Your Book's Release
Ginger Monette
4/21/2017

When God Gives You Manna
Sherri Stewart
4/14/2017

Why You Won’t Submit that Piece I Asked For
Lori Hatcher
4/7/2017

How to Decide When to Self-Publish and Advice from One Who Has
Diane E. Tatum
3/31/2017

Faith In Process: Why Prayer is Essential to Our Writing
Terri Rhoden
3/24/2017

Writers Are a Strange Lot
Lori Hatcher
3/16/2017

When Balance and Writing Don't Co-exist
Heather Iseminger
3/9/2017

Six Blogging Trends for 2017
Andy Lee
3/1/2017

Six Things to Do When You Want to Give Up
Maresa DePuy
2/24/2017

Faculty Interview with Heather Iseminger
Bethany Jett
2/22/2017

Faculty Interview with Susan Reichert
Bethany Jett
2/21/2017

Faculty Interview with Linda Gilden
Bethany Jett
2/20/2017

Faculty Interview with Tina Yeager
Bethany Jett
2/19/2017

Faculty Interview with Beth Patch
Bethany Jett
2/18/2017

Faculty Interview with Karen Ball
Bethany Jett
2/18/2017

Faculty Interview with Erin Taylor Young
Bethany Jett
2/17/2017

Faculty Interview with Dawn Anderson
Bethany Jett
2/17/2017

Faculty Interview with Dan Walsh
Bethany Jett
2/15/2017

Faculty Interview with Nancy Lohr
Bethany Jett
2/14/2017

Faculty Interview with Natalie Gillespie
Bethany Jett
2/13/2017

Faculty Interview with Shana Asaro
Bethany Jett
2/13/2017

Faculty Interview with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley
Bethany Jett
2/12/2017

Faculty Interview with Bethany Jett
Eva Marie Everson
2/11/2017

Media and Promos with Punch
Kathy Bruins
2/11/2017

Faculty Interview with Lindsay Brackett
Bethany Jett
2/10/2017

Faculty Interview with Michelle Medlock Adams
Bethany Jett
2/9/2017

Faculty Interview with Eva Marie Everson and Mark Hancock
Bethany Jett
2/8/2017

Faculty Interview with Edie Melson
Bethany Jett
2/6/2017

Faculty Interview with Eddie Jones
Bethany Jett
2/3/2017

Faculty Interview with Hannah C. Hall
Bethany Jett
2/1/2017

Faculty Interview with Cyle Young
Bethany Jett
1/30/2017

Faculty Interview with Kristen Stieffel
Bethany Jett
1/28/2017

Faculty Interview with Bill Watkins
Bethany Jett
1/27/2017

Glimpses from the Writer’s Glossary
Linda Gilden
1/23/2017

Faculty Interview with Torry Martin
Bethany Jett
1/20/2017

Faculty Interview with Marti Pieper
Bethany Jett
1/18/2017

Faculty Interview with Shellie Arnold
Bethany Jett
1/16/2017

Writing a Standout First Page and Blurb
Shana Asaro
1/11/2017

How to Evaluate Your Options
Cheri Cowell
1/9/2017

Faculty Interview with Linda Glaz
Bethany Jett
1/6/2017

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Continuous Critique Track?
Shellie Arnold
1/4/2017

Faculty Interview with Lora Zill
Bethany Jett
1/2/2017

Faculty Interview with Laura Petherbridge
Bethany Jett
12/30/2016

Interview with Katy Kauffman
Bethany Jett
12/28/2016

Interview with Kristen Hogrefe
Bethany Jett
12/26/2016

Faculty Interview with Ben Wolf
Bethany Jett
12/23/2016

5 Reasons to be a Word Weaver
Kristen Hogrefe
12/21/2016

Finding Your Tribe
Katy Kauffman
12/19/2016

Faculty interview with Angela Hunt
Bethany Jett
12/16/2016

Faculty Interview with Alton Gansky
Bethany Jett
12/14/2016

Faculty Interview with Cheri Cowell
Bethany Jett
12/13/2016

A Silent Retreat
Laura Petherbridge
12/12/2016

How to Get More Readers Using Libraries and Magazines ( A Class Offered)
Susan Reichert
12/9/2016

Platform is Not a Four Letter Word
Andy Lee
12/7/2016

Writing for CBN.com
Beth Patch
12/5/2016

Nonfiction A-Z
Edie Melson
12/2/2016

Blogging for the Soul and Making a Difference
Andy Lee
11/30/2016

Will I Ever Be Published?
Linda S. Glaz
11/28/2016

Conquering Mountains
Erin Taylor Young
11/25/2016

I've Written a Children's Book . . . Now What?
Hannah C. Hall
11/16/2016

To Plot or Not
Nancy Lohr
11/14/2016

Writing to Satisfy Our Insatiable Longing to Feel God's Pleasure
Lora Zill
11/11/2016

The Problem with Procrastination
Andy Lee
11/9/2016

Tips for Mastering Dialogue
Dr. Dennis Hensley
11/7/2016

Self-Editing: The Key to Better Writing
Bill Watkins
11/4/2016

Poetry: Cross-Training for Prose Writers
Lora Zill
10/31/2016

Issues Writing That Matters
Bill Watkins
10/28/2016

7 Trends in Book Publishing
Eddie Jones
10/24/2016

Ethics for Christian Writers
Marti Pieper
10/21/2016

Ministry Multiplied
Alton Gansky
10/17/2016

Guidelines for Effective Networking
Deb Haggerty
10/14/2016

Stay Current: Keep Italics Out of Your Fiction
Dr. Angela Hunt
10/7/2016

To E-Book Or Not To E-Book: That is the question
Cheri Cowell
9/30/2016

Is My Writing Good Enough?
Tina Yeager
9/23/2016

Look Who Is Teaching the Fiction Continuing Class
Eva Marie Everson
9/16/2016

The Difference Between a Dream and a Call
Andy Lee
9/2/2016

Lose the Parts Readers Skip
Dan Walsh
8/26/2016

How to Let People Know Your Book Exists
Natalie Gillespie
8/19/2016

Advice from an Editor Regarding Your Manuscript
Fay Lamb
8/5/2016

Through the eyes of an acquisition editor
Ramona Richards
7/29/2016

Be a Book Influencer
Deborah Raney
7/15/2016

Finding Value Through Faith
Denae Haas
6/24/2016

Never Discredit Anyone (Especially God)
Eva Marie Everson
6/17/2016

The Quote for the Quarter Hour
Robert Benson
6/3/2016

Thank a Military Family
Andy Lee
5/27/2016

The Benefits of a Small Press
Eddie Jones
5/20/2016

12 Steps to Prevent Writer Burnout and Nurture Balance
DiAnn Mills
5/13/2016

Write Thoughtfully
Diana Flegal
5/6/2016

3 Keys to Writing Bible Studies that Sell
Andy Lee
4/29/2016

The Benefits of Writing Devotions
Ava Pennington
4/15/2016

A Different Perspective in Crafting Fiction
Steven James
4/8/2016

Some Miracles Take Time
Andy Lee
4/1/2016

A Tribute to Mary Sue Seymour
Andy Lee
3/25/2016

How to be an Influencer
Deborah Raney
3/18/2016

Why Platform is Important--Now I Know
Andy Lee
3/11/2016

4 Resources to Help Writers Write Well
Andy Lee
3/4/2016

What's in and What's Out in Publishing Workshop
Blythe Daniel
2/24/2016

How to Write for Children . . .
Michelle Medlock Adams
2/19/2016

Mistakes Made After Meeting with Agents & Editors
Blythe Daniel
2/17/2016

10 Secrets for a Great Writers Conference
Bethany Jett
2/15/2016

A More Than Enough Kind of God
Michelle Medlock Adams
2/12/2016

For Want of a Hook
Dan Walsh
2/10/2016

What Does a Writers Conference Chaplain Do?
Marti Pieper
2/8/2016

Author Marketing
Edie Melson
2/5/2016

Move Over Clark: The Basics of Journalism
Michael Ray Smith
2/3/2016

Tips to Get the Most Out of the Critique Track
Shellie Arnold
2/1/2016

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Critique Track?
Shellie Arnold
1/29/2016

An Introvert's Best Friend (Live Streaming)
Bethany Jett
1/27/2016

Who am I Writing For?
S. Kim Henson
1/25/2016

The Day I Decided to Keep Writing
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
1/22/2016

Invest in Your Writing
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
1/20/2016

Your Writers Conference Checklist
Andy Lee
1/18/2016

5 Reasons to Launch a Blog
Andy Lee
1/16/2016

Craft Fiction with Vivid Emotion
Tina Yeager
1/13/2016

Thoughts on being a Submissive Writer
Edie Melson
1/9/2016

How Fast Should Your Blog Grow?
Edie Melson
1/6/2016

The ART of Exceptional Editing
Deb Haggerty
1/4/2016

Happy New Year
Andy Lee
1/1/2016

Finding Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Mary Keeley
12/28/2015

Do Writers Need a Blog or Website?
Edie Melson
12/22/2015

"Second-Fiddle" Characters Play an Important Role
Tom Morrisey
12/16/2015

Let Them Eat Bread: An Editor's Thoughts on FCWC
Jesse Florea
12/14/2015

Preparing for Promotion
Michelle Medlock Adams
12/10/2015

Jesus Believed in the Power of Story
Dan Walsh
12/7/2015

How to Use Hashtags in Social Media
Edie Melson
12/4/2015

Where Writer Conference Connections Can Take You
Lindsey Brackett
12/2/2015

Why Should I Attend a Writers Conference?
Andy Lee
11/30/2015

How to Fight Discouragement... as a Writer
Andy Lee
11/23/2015

An Interview with Acclaimed Author, Robert Benson
Eva Marie Everson
11/18/2015

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Nonfiction Book
Kristin Stieffel
11/14/2015

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel
Kristin Stieffel
11/9/2015

Let God Define You
Michelle Medlock Adams
11/4/2015

10 Clues that You Are a Fiction Writer
Taryn Souders
10/31/2015

The Basics of a Book Proposal
Kristin Stieffel
10/27/2015

What To Wear at FCWC
Eva Marie Everson
10/23/2015

The Skinny on Business Cards
Andy Lee
10/15/2015

Just Do Your Part
Michelle Medlock Adams
10/12/2015

A Sneak Peek into a New Class at FCWC 2016
Shellie Arnold
10/2/2015

50 Reasons Why You Should Never Write
Pro Krasta Nation Publishers
9/28/2015

The Best First Step on Your Journey to Published
Eva Marie Everson
9/21/2015

10 "Not-So-Secret" Secrets for a Great Writers Conference
Bethany Jett
2/10/2015

Go Where God Leads
Allison Bottke
2/1/2015

Moving From Passion to Process
Ava Pennington
1/27/2015

Your Last First Conference
Kristen Hogrefe
1/19/2015

What Is Compel Training?
Suzie Eller
1/9/2015

That Agent Meeting
Tamela Hancock Murray
1/3/2015

Three Problems with Point of View
Kristen Stieffel
12/21/2014

How to Evaluate Your Options
Cheri Cowell
12/5/2014

Writing Effective Book Proposals
Jim Watkins
11/29/2014

Do the Math
Marti Pieper
11/21/2014

Becoming More Media Savvy
Natalie Gillespie
11/15/2014

The Perfect Book Pitch
Dawn Anderson
11/8/2014

Moved With Compassion
Diana Flegal
10/20/2014

Splickety In A Flash
Ben Wolf
10/9/2014

Look into Their Eyes: Why Editors Go to Writers Conferences
Ramona Richards
9/29/2014

A Writer's Life
Dan Walsh
2/21/2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Gutless
DiAnn Mills
2/20/2014

I Want 2 Write 4 Teens
Marti Pieper
2/13/2014

6 Things Writers Should NOT Say to Editors or Agents
Jevon Bolden
2/12/2014

Don't Be Labeled "Dead On Arrival"
Eddie Jones
1/30/2014

Imagine. Create. For a More Confident Faith
Lora Zill
1/28/2014

Burnout or Balance
DiAnn Mills
1/21/2014

Money Workouts for Writers
Ellie Kay
1/18/2014

The Tale of Three Authors
Cheri Cowell
1/10/2014

Three Questions, Three Answers
B.J. Taylor
1/7/2014

The Introvert's Guide to the Writers Conference
Marti Pieper
1/2/2014

After Your Meeting with an Editor or Agent
Blythe Daniel
2/23/2013

It's Headed Right Towards Us
Amber Weigand-Buckley
2/16/2013

So, Tell Me About Your Platform
Cheri Cowell
2/11/2013

How Will Readers Find Your Book...
Eddie Jones
2/1/2013

Tips For Coming to the FCWC From a Floridian
Cheri Cowell
1/26/2013

How to Write For Kids When ...
Michelle Medlock Adams
1/23/2013

Why Take the Chance?
Fay Lamb
1/7/2013

Having a Positive Influence
Deborah Raney
1/4/2013

Managing Your Time
Rusty Wright
12/29/2012

Are You Ready for the Conference?
W. Terry Whalin
12/26/2012

Devoted to Devotions
Ava Pennington
12/21/2012

A Different View of Story
Steven James
12/18/2012