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The Lavender Colander - A Christmas Story
One night a couple of years ago my husband I were washing and drying dishes, an occasion that doesn't happen often in this age of dishwashing machines. However, at the time our dishwasher had finally decided to quit and we were in waiting mode for a part and return of the repair man.
Side by side at the kitchen sink we were laughing and joking around, helped along by the couple of glasses of wine that we'd had with dinner. Finally we came to the "lavender colander". Who would buy a lavender coloured colander? Then I stopped washing and said to Craig" Remember the year Auntie Mary gave me this colander for Christmas" - and we reminished a bit, got a tear in our eye, and laughed lot more.
Christmas Is Coming
Several years back my aunt, who always spent Christmas with our family, suggested that it was time to stop trying to buy each other extravagant Christmas gifts that we all neither needed nor wanted. My mother was a little harder to convince of this new idea and so for a while we tried drawing names and spending a bit more on just one person.
This proved to be a silly idea especially when you are only drawing names between six people. I mean why would I want to draw my husband's name, or he - mine? And then if our mother didn't get either my sister's or my name, she would always sneak something across for us anyway.
And honestly, neither one of them, my mother or aunt, ever played by the rules that they had set. We did this for a couple of years and then regrouped and said "OK, let's try this once again". It ended up that we would spend no more than $20.00 on each person, with mom and my aunt spending $20.00 between the "couples". I should not have said "ended up" because of course that didn't work either. Almost invariably the two elder ladies would buy something for each of my husband and I, and my sister and her husband. Did I mention that they made the rules??
Which brings me back to the Lavender Colander!!
As the years went by it became harder and harder for both mom and my aunt to get out to do their own Christmas Shopping. So started the tradition of me taking them both, one by one of course, to one of my favourite stores - HomeSense, where you could get more bang for your buck.
Here they would be able to pick out more things for their $20.00, which in fact alays ended up growing to more like $30.00. In all of this of course I had to end up picking out my own gift. Well at this age, believe me I am far beyond looking for surprises, and in a sense - a "HomeSense" this was a nice couple of hours that I could spend with them individually and have a little fun. So this particular year my Aunt Mary had completed all of her shopping for the other members of our Christmas group, when she turned to me and said "OK - we just need to shop for you now".
So around the store we went while I picked up a couple of small things I thought would be useful, announcing we were now done. She insisted that we were not and that I didn't have enough so I had to pick out something else, because "that's all I would be getting". Was she trying to sound like Scrooge?? Funny, this many years later "A Christmas Carol" comes back loud and clear to me.
Anyway, we happened to be walking through the kitchen department at the time and I spied a pile of colourful metal colanders stacked inside one another. I really didn't want anything else but she would not hear of it so I said "I'd like one of those bright colanders" and I picked lavender because the kitchen was next to the dining room , which had lavender coloured walls. Works for me! Our shopping done, I delivered her back home where she could go through her booty and wrap everythng up for the big day.
Christmas Eve had arrived - this being the day that we have for the last twenty some years celebrated with my side of the family. It has always worked out because Italians have a big deal both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Initially that left Craig and I free to spend Christmas Day with his kids and our grandkids. In later years, the two ladies also joined us on Christmas Day, but nevertheless Christmas Eve was still the time for unwrapping gifts with my side of the family.
The hour had arrived and they had appointed me as Santa Clause so I dutifully handed out the assortment of gifts under our tree, one by one. I made sure everyone had one and round and round we went until we had exhausted gifts to and from each other.
I unwrapped my Lavender Colander and the other little accessories along with it, put them aside and then opened up my card from Auntie Mary, only to find that once again the rule had been broken and facing me was a very generous surprise. Stunned, I made all the usual noises of thanks and as soon as it was appropriate I headed for the den where I could have some privacy and get my emotions in check. Of course, all of my protests to Auntie Mary, who had followed me into the den, fell on deaf ears. This person who through the years had always been so generous to all of us nieces and nephews, had chosen me once again this year to be the recipient of that generosity.
So as I washed and Craig dried that Lavender Colander, we once again remembered my aunt and had a little laugh over the lady, who made all of the rules, broke all the rules, and basically never followed any rules for pretty much most of her life. And we both agreed that we missed her terribly!
Dedicated to my Auntie Mary who passed away August 4, 2007. She will always be missed.