Thursday, December 11, 2008

Heartwarming ...

During a recent birthday celebration with my mom and gram, I received what I call, "My Most Favorite Gift of the Year!" (although, Christmas is coming so this may be a bit hasty of a declaration to make - *smile*) ...

"Baby Hoot"

Is he not just the most adorable little-bitty thing that you've laid eyes on?? Actually, my mom had given me a preview of this gift - she says that she didn't think I would like it (What??) - but I truly think that it is because she likes to torture me! So, that preview just left me with a month of anticipation of getting my hands on this sweetly, lil'-feathered treasure! He has tiny, wispy feathers here and there .... love him!

While on the subject of "heartwarming" things, I thought that I would share with you my three most treasured ornaments adorning our tree (these, of course, with the exception of my children's ornaments - those are a given!) ...

Firstly, if I have not mentioned this before, I am a huge fan of Mary Engelbriet - in fact, she is by far the #1 reason that I began to draw and paint again after my daughter was born. I had done mostly portrait and wildlife renderings (click to view samples) with all the detail placed upon the subject - not so much of the surroundings. When I came upon her work, I was completely stunned, smitten, inspired ... and well, simply, in love! Not only is her work magical, but her main character of illustrations, Ann Estelle, is an adorable little girl with glasses.

I guess my affection for her dates back to my own childhood when I was wearing my thick, brown plastic glasses. However, note that I was certainly not cute enough to be made into an ornament! No. If you read my past post, you know what I'm talking about. (No. 6, if you're interested.)

Finally, the next two ornaments are the most prized of my collection, for they are a tangible remembrance of my pap-pap, who will be missed for an astounding 5 years this December 26th....

My pap had many facets to him ...

  • He was warm-hearted; he like to share stories of his youth during walks to Kings Castle (a tall evergreen that was a fort for he and his friends), skimming stones along the shore or just rocking on the porch swing.
  • He was fun-loving; we played card games of PIG and Spoons, or dominoes.
  • He was part American Indian (not sure of which tribe or how much), which lead to his fascination of the history of local tribes; one memory that I cherish is our walks through the cemetery to scout out the grave of Massey Harbison - they kept moving it!! Creepy if you ask me... Where exactly is she laid to rest? Beneath the haunted Jr. High??
  • He was our Chief; one of the traditions at any, and mostly all, family gathering was for Pap to give a speech in "Indian." His version anyway *smile*... Thankfully, I did get this ritual on tape! We would be in tears of laughter with his rendition of the numerous "chiefs" that visited our table.
  • He was a songbird, you know the one that loves to sing, but shouldn't? LOL! My gram used to just shake her head when he would go into his version of, "I Love You Truly ..." Now, I sing it for my son ... Pap-style! :)
  • He was a Christian and Traditionalist; He may not have known this, but he instilled in me my values of family, home, faith and community.
  • He was an amateur bird watcher; Though he enjoyed all types of birds, I know that he had a special affection for cardinals.
  • He was our family Chef; Serving in the Coast Guard as a cook, Pap enjoyed working in the kitchen and was best known for his homemade mashed potatoes - which he had the uncanny way of testing a dollop on the back of his hand before he would serve. The reasoning? I am not sure ... just another quirk that made up my beloved Pap.
  • He was our family's historian; Reminiscing and telling stories of growing up and working on his family's dairy farm was a favorite past-time of Pap's. It was a well-loved farm, in its time, as families would drive for miles to enjoy the homemade ice cream and other dairy treats. He could sit for hours if you'd let him, with photo after photo, and story after story ... he loved that farm.
Which, believe it or not ... leads me to my ornaments. Gosh, I get long-winded! (I've been working on this post for over 3 hours ... Gracious!!)

My beloved milk bottles

Our dairy cow ...

These ornaments were handed down to me and are what I cherish most about our tree.

What treasures do you cherish this Christmas season?


Sara@ Butterville said...

AH, that was a GREAT post, Jen! I loved hearing about Pap pap. You know, my Greatgrand father was stolen by Indians because they were fasinated by his red hair, and his father had to trade fabric to get him back. My hair was strawberry blonde as a child but then turned dirty blonde. Mother's Dad A.J. (Red-hairs son) made cookies cutters out of coffee cans for Mother has them and I was given 3, I don't use them, other then haveing them tucked into a wreath and hanging in the kitchen. I never met A.J. He died long before I was born. He was 62 when Mother was born!!!! So I knew Grandpa Jim as my grandpa. You Pap pap looks a lot like my Grandpa "George" Jim. He passed away when I was 10. Boy, it sure stirs the heart remembering our loved one huh?
Thank you for sharing.
I love little Hoot! TOTALLY sweet!

Gwendolyn said...

I loved this post! One of my regrets is that my out-of-state relatives got my grandparents Christmas ornaments before I could retrieve any of my favorites. I would have loved to have the memories!