Tossing Salt Presents:
12 (Dougie) Days of Christmas
Day 4: Grandma’s House, Dream Warriors & Chestnuts
December 16, 2022
Good morning friends and yes, it is morning. It’s 3:02 am to be exact and I can’t sleep. I went to bed early (for me), around 11:30 pm, and tossed, turned, and had strange dreams about owning MySpace. Yeah, those kinds of dreams. And now I’m up and at my computer, ready to pound out Day 4 of the 12 (Dougie) Days of Christmas. I probably should go back to bed and try to sleep. It’s going to be a long day today, but hell, sleep is overrated anyhow. Let’s get the Magic Bag out and find some topics to write about instead. Are you ready? Let’s do this.
We’ve got the bag and I’m going in. The topics of discussion for today are Grandma’s House, Dream Warriors, and Chestnuts. This could be fun. So let’s get to hopping and see what happens. Let’s go.
When I think about my Grandma’s house, it stirs up a lot of memories. Most specifically, memories of those great times when I was a kid when, my family and I, traveled to South Point, Ohio, and visited my Grandma Vick.
She always had a jar of that old-fashioned candy sitting around and it was hard as a rock, all stuck together. I think having a jar of candy for the small kids is a requirement for being a Grandma. But I remember it so well, trying to break apart these candies that were all stuck together and had probably been there for years.
I remember throwing wood into the fireplace that always seemed to be blazing and I remember so many little knick-knacks and small items that were on display everywhere. It was so old-fashioned there and so cool and Grandma always seemed to be in the kitchen trying to feed us or else sitting in her chair in the living room just watching us, a smile on her face as if she was lost in memories.
Thinking back, although I was too young to really understand it all at the time, she probably was. Grandma was up in years already when I was born and my Grandpa died in the early ’70s. She had lived a full life already by then, with nine children, a career as a general storekeeper and postmaster (think Cora Beth on The Waltons) and so much more, and then, here are these grandkids running about all over the place. I’m sure we triggered a lot of memories for her. I just wish I had been old enough to understand and ask questions and talk to her then. It would have been a learning experience for sure.
It’s weird how I can still remember her house and every small detail, but can’t even remember some of the places I’ve lived myself over the years or sometimes, even what I’m supposed to be doing at the time. Her house was the traditional old country-style house and it was huge. Technically, it had only six rooms, but they were large and comfortable and just felt like home.
You walk into the house, off the front porch and there is a small, but cozy living room with a fire burning in the fireplace, as I already mentioned. Immediately to your right as you entered was a room used as a bedroom. A strange place for a bedroom, but it had been used by my Grandpa’s mother, my great-grandmother when she was up in years and stayed with my grandparents. She couldn’t get around well and the two rooms upstairs were definitely out of the question so they fixed this room up for her bedroom. After she passed, they just kept it as an extra bedroom.
Straight on through the living room, you entered the dining room and kitchen. I look back now and this was a very huge room. A big table that could hold 10–12 people and a standard kitchen with a small pantry off to the right that also led to a door that led outside to the backyard. That table was always full of plates of food where breakfast was served and whatever was left was covered up and served for lunch. That’s how it was done back then.
Go back to where you entered the kitchen from the living room and there was this room that Grandma used as her bedroom. Also, the only bathroom in the house was located in this area. So if you wanted to go to the bathroom at night or go upstairs to the other two rooms, you had to go through Grandma’s bedroom. She went to bed usually around 7:00 or so at night so there was a lot of tip-toeing and trying to be quiet.
In the corner of Grandma’s bedroom was a door that when opened, led to a long set of steps that would take you upstairs. Two rooms, also used as bedrooms were here. Large rooms with old-fashioned cupboards and huge closets that were actually long and narrow and tiny rooms all unto themselves. These were the rooms where I always liked to stay and would spend hours playing with my cousins and listening to the radio.
Outside of her house was all country. There was the old barn, full of treasures to be discovered and discarded items from the days when Grandma and Grandpa had their store. There was the small room where my Uncle Denver decided to put a pool table. We had the old chicken coop that my cousins and I cleaned out and made into a clubhouse. There was a garden of course and an old root cellar with a small room above it where one of Uncle’s would stay when they came to visit. There were three old barrels for burning trash and a steep yard on the side of the house where several huge rocks poked out of the ground. A small creek ran beside the house and across the creek, up on the hill, lived my Aunt and Uncle and my cousins, Clint and Cliff.
Looking back, that whole area and time was paradise. How I would love to be able to go back now and relive those days, see that house again and the people.
Unfortunately, I can’t do that. Grandma passed away many years ago at the age of 102, I believe. My cousins and Aunt have moved away and I haven’t spoken to them in years. My Uncle who lived on the hill passed away a few years ago as well. I doubt that the old house is still even there and I’m sure that things have changed a great deal since my childhood and the days we used to travel and visit. At least I’ve still got the memories. Rest in Peace, Grandma Vick. I love and miss you.
I remember this from one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies where the kids that Freddy was trying to kill decided to fight back and take the fight to Mr. Krueger. It was also a song by one of those 80s hair bands, Dokken, I believe. If I can find the music video, I’ll include it in this blog.
And what else could Dream Warriors be about? I have nothing. I’m going blank. Just enjoy the music video and when you go to bed tonight, just remember that one, two, Freddie’s coming for you, three four, he’s just outside that door, and so on. Let’s move on.
We’ve all heard it spoken of, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but I have to ask. What the heck is a chestnut? I have an idea, but it’s not a very Christmasy definition, although it does involve emptying a sack.
But truthfully, what are chestnuts? I know walnuts, pecans, acorns, peanuts, etc., but I’ve never walked into a grocery store and bought a package of crushed chestnuts. Are they even real things or is it something that someone made up to exploit and create a better story, like global warming? I really don’t know.
And why would you roast them on an open fire? Isn’t that a fire hazard? I’d much rather roast marshmallows or hot dogs. And if we’ve got an open fire going, break out the booze. It’s time to party and we sure as hell don’t need any chestnuts for that. Maybe later after the alcohol has kicked in, but that has nothing to do with Christmas.
Okay, I went to Google and looked them up and they are real. I saw the picture and I recognize them now. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten or tried them and have no desire to do so. I’ll stick with pecans and walnuts instead. And I’m not roasting on an open fire. I’ve got a microwave.
But anyhow, it’s all Christmas tradition and I guess some people do it. Or maybe they just sing about it, but fair enough. Do your thing people and be Merry. Roast those chestnuts and let Jack Frost nip at your nose. Someone has to do it.
And there you go. Another edition of the 12 (Dougie) Days of Christmas is in the books. My thanks for reading. Comments, thoughts, and any questions are welcome and appreciated. And with that, I’m headed back to bed. Have a great day and Merry Christmas to you. I’ll see you tomorrow.