Christmas Memories: Chocolate Covered Cherries, Sledding And Bubblers
As we were starting to go through Christmas decoration to see what we might need to replace this year my family started talking about our memories of the holiday. Since I grew up in the Northland and I know you may have a lot of the same memories that I do, I thought I'd share. (maybe we sledded down Pinehurst Park's hill next to each other). I thought I'd throw em' at you and see what has stuck. (pun intended)
Marching in the Christmas City of the North Parade as a majorette with a fire baton. Our uniforms were basically swimming suits with black and orange sequins and we had plastic white boots with orange tassels and nylons. That was it except for a tiara. That would have been fine except that the year I marched it was snow/sleet/raining and colder than ....! Probably like this year with the weather we're expecting.
My parents heated with oil. When the oil man (not to be confused with the tin man that had an oil can for a head) would deliver in December he would always drop off a box of chocolate covered cherries. Very nice of the company to remember the season with a gift for each customer, but I hated (and still do) chocolate covered cherries. What do companies give out now?
Putting up the Christmas Tree with the "old" lights and decorations. My grandmother made our decorations out of Styrofoam balls and ovals that she covered with material and painstakingly threaded plastic beads through a pin with a ball on the head and pushed into the ornament. She added ribbon and boom, a hand crafted ornament made with love, sweat equity and amazing eyesight given that grandma was in her 70's. I still use these ornaments today. The lights my mom used were called bubblers and I just saw them for sale again at the gift shop at Essentia. They are shaped like a small candle with water in it that bubbles when the water heats up from the light. Remember those? I'm pretty sure the ones my mom used were unsafe and they've been upgraded for safety now.
Sliding down Pinehurst Park Hill in Cloquet. It was the BEST hill around to slide on but back then, there was no fencing and you had to bail at the bottom or end up in the street. The trek back up the hill to slide down again was a heart stopper too. The one time I remember the most was when my sister and her then-boyfriend took me for a short time then we went to pick out a Christmas tree. We had brought our dog Brave and he apparently got car sick after we had been to the tree lot. He puked in my lap and it was all pine needles and broken shards from a blue Christmas tree light bulb. I probably should have been concerned about the glass from the bulb being in his intestines but at my age was more freaked that a dog had puked in my lap. He survived the ordeal to torture me in other ways.
The food! While my mom did try to make Lutefisk one year, we're Asian, so to satisfy the Americans in the family we'd have a ham, but we also had a Filipino dish called Puncit which consisted of chicken or pork, vegetables and rice noodles cooked in a chicken broth. My Aunt Wilma also made the best Filipino egg rolls called, Lumpia. White rice replaced mashed potatoes and back when the Patty Cake Shoppe was open on Superior Street we'd get a Christmas Cake and fight about who would get the frosting flowers because the frosting was just that good! Those that have had it will agree, I'm sure! Incidentally, they also sold potica, but no one makes it as good as Mrs. Tanko from the Iron Range. I work with her son and it was always a treat to look forward to during the holidays!