Friday, December 12, 2008


When I was a kid, we never opened a Christmas present until Christmas morning. Not one. Not even on Christmas Eve. For any reason. Never. Ever. My parents always seemed excited about Christmas. I really didn't appreciate this until after I was grown. I think my Dad was more excited than my Mom. On Christmas morning, we were awakened to the sound of "Ho, Ho, Ho!!" Santa sounded surprisingly like my Dad! We always had to wait in the hall at the bottom of the stairs - some of us sat on the stairs waiting for everyone to come. Then Dad lined us up youngest to oldest and then we were allowed in. I can't remember a lot of specific Christmases. I do remember getting a Barbie kitchen for Christmas one year. It had an oven that had a burner that glowed red, and a turkey in the oven on a rotisserie that rotated. You could even put water in the sink and it would pump out through the faucet. Barbie's kitchen appliances were a stylish aqua! Barbie was always in style in the 60's. Another Christmas I remember getting a bicycle. Actually it was given to both my sister and I, although I don't remember her riding it that much. I rode it alot. At least until my brother got a shiny red bike for Christmas a few years later and then I rode his all the time.

The other present I remember getting was a guitar. I had asked my Mom to show me how to play her guitar. She showed me a few things, basically how to read the guitar charts, and I taught myself the rest. I loved my guitar. It was probably my favorite gift growing up. I think I was 12, maybe older. I was so shocked to get it, because I never thought I would get one. I was content playing my mother's. I remember that Christmas, Dad was so excited to give me the guitar that he broke one of his most important rules - never give hints. Dad dropped the hint that someone was getting a present from Santa that was as big, if not bigger than the piano bench. I never thought it would be me. One reason was because at 12 (or older) I knew I was too big for Santa gifts. In fact, I remember going in to the living room and just sitting on the couch watching the other kids get their Santa gifts. Finally my dad asked me if I had seen my gift from Santa. I hadn't even noticed it. It was laying on top of the piano bench but wasn't wrapped. I was so surprised I could hardly even talk! It was a Silvertone brand that Sears sold.

That guitar had many miles put on it. As a teenager, it was the last thing I grabbed before I went out of the house. I took it everywhere, throwing it into the back of my car so I could take it, at the request of my friends, to Buffalo Lake where we sat by bonfires singing, or to parties. I played the guitar while my cousins and I sang in the talent show every summer. I think I even tried to take it Christmas caroling one time, which didn't turn out too good I think. I was never really good at playing the guitar, just okay. It didn't matter. I loved doing it and loved singing with my friends. I made a guitar book from songs I had copied from the radio. I kept a piece of paper and a pen by the radio and whenever a song came on that I was trying to get the words to, I would listen and write as fast as I could. Sometimes I would wait an hour or so and call the radio station to request the song again so I could finish getting the words I missed. We didn't have internet where we could go to web sites to get the words. Then after I got the words, I would sit and play and try to figure out the chords to use. I only knew basic chords and never got very fancy, so probably some places of the songs didn't sound real great. After I got all the words and the chords, I would copy the whole thing over on a clean sheet of notebook paper and put them in a 3-ring notebook. I still have that notebook of hand-copied songs.


Bullet for Babs said...

Maybe you should play again...they have tabs now...reading tabs is really easy and then you learn how to play exactly how it sounds on the record...

Amber said...

That's so cool! I loved reading this! I never knew that all the traditions WE did on christmas were so much like the ones YOU did as a kid, that's really cool!! I agree with Babs, you should learn to play guitar again since you loved it so much, I bet you'd be much better this time since you know so much more about music!