Dear Romania,

It is 8:50 a.m. here in Alabama and it is a warm morning with clear blue skies.  Up early, I went for a long walk and along the way began working over in my mind exactly what I want to share about growing up here in the southern United States when I get to Romania.

     There is so much.  If I am to expound on the power of storytelling here in our region, I will have to first describe the area’s earliest settlers and how they were shaped by both their heritage and the terrain of the South as it once was.  And there is the melding that comes with the influx of even more settlers, their customs, beliefs, foods…
      …and our history.
     See?  There is so much to explain before the sharing of stories even begins!
     But isn’t it the same everywhere?!
     Of course it is!   WE are shaped by our elders and their teachings; the land and our attachment to it; our beliefs and the fundamental ideals of which we are comprised.
     Nearing the end of my walk, I acknowledged that while I can share so much, it would be helpful if I understood your interest in our South- what is it YOU want to know?
     I would greatly appreciate your response.  I so look forward to my days in Bucharest, and to meeting you all and learning something about each of you!
     Share with me something YOU love about your country, memories of the area you grew up, your stories!
See you soon!
Elizabeth Mozley
woman in field

hOlidAy tRAdiTioNs ~

Thanksgiving-Christmas

Pre-holiday activities get me all geared up for the season.  And some of the things I love are irksome to others in the family!

For example, I usually put my Christmas tree up on Veteran’s Day.

My reasoning?

When I was a single mom and shared the holidays with the ex, the time for preparing and celebrating was cut in half.  The kids and I were out of school every November 11th so we started making the most of it and began a new tradition.

Even though the kids are grown, I am still putting the tree up before Thanksgiving.  I LIKE making it one big, long holiday!  Most of us begin the season with a dinner that celebrates family, health and happiness, then spend several weeks rejoicing in our beliefs and the festivities that surround them, and finally close with a party to welcome the New Year!  See?!  One big season of being hApPy!

Another reason I like starting early is because the season is so hectic.  The extra time allows for more relaxing; I can acknowledge and enjoy the moment when that giddy, 0h-i-love-Christmas-feeling strikes –because honestly, sometimes the festive spirit can be short-lived.  You know what I mean!  At times I am absolutely covered up with it –like this year. 🙂 But, there have been holidays I’ve gone through the motions, thankful but not necessarily in a Christmassy mood.

So, Saturday morning I rolled up my sleeves and headed to the storage building. Yes, it was game day -college football/ALABAMA/Roll Tide day.  I told myself I’d be finished before kickoff.

I wasn’t.  With sounds of the game roaring from the other room, I dug out and went through six huge boxes of ornaments and decorations I’d not unpacked in eight years.  I unwrapped them all and reveled at how many memories I found gently folded within the timeworn wrapping paper.  Even the old wrapping paper brought back memories of my children’s early Christmas mornings.  My earliest memories were there too.

Nostalgia in a box.

There were so many ornaments I was forced to choose from our favorites. A blue silk-threaded ball and a glass orb from my childhood (I remember my baby brother, Oba, taking a bite out of one); antique golden glass hearts my Uncle Tim gave me; gold paper stars my daughter, Anderson, and I made when she was little; a snowflake with Isaac’s kindergarten picture clipped inside; plastic snowflakes the kids and I purchased at Nelson’s on Broad St. and gussied up with tons of glitter; paper cardinals drawn, cut, and painted in watercolor from a Christmas spent alone…

And so many from vacations and road trips…

…A sunglass and Santa-hat clad starfish purchased in Orange Beach during the vacation it stormed all week. (It was awesome –we three feasted on seafood, camped out at the indoor pool & hot tub and watched movies all week.)…

…And three Santas purchased in Brighton Beach, the summer I ran off to NYC, alone.

The more eggnog I drank, the gaudier my tree became, covered in layer upon layer of ornaments!

I even pulled out the old ceramic tree Mother gave me years ago.  It was always the first decoration Oba and I put out when we were little.   I played with the wiring and got the inner light to work then washed the tree and its base.  While ordering more plastic lights for it online, I discovered that the 24” vintage one like mine is now worth 250.-300. dollars.  Ah, viNtaGe!

So, even though I was a weekend behind my official putting-up-the-tree-date, it was a wonderful day!  I missed the kids, but revealed in every minute of the Christmas spirit that filled me.

Now, I can look forward to all the other activities that have become family traditions -the kids helping with Thanksgiving dinner, the making of Christmas candies (Martha Washington & Potato Candy!), shopping with the girls, piling up on the couch to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, Midnight Mass at the Vatican… and hours upon hours of Christmas music!

Happy Holidays, y’all !!

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….”

*****

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

@ElizabethMozley  &  @CentipedeYAread

And on Facebook – We Share the Same Sky, author Elizabeth Mozley

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU