David and his cousin enjoy, “coffee and cake” in Bruch during the Christmas holidays – which is my favorite German tradition of taking a break at 4:00 p.m. and enjoying coffee and cake, cookies or any small snack that is available while relaxing and pausing during the day.
David helps to decorate the Christmas tree in Bruch, which was a time for us as a family to refocus, catch our breath and change gears as our next move to Ramstein AB approached.
David, his little cousin, my wife’s father and her sister all sing traditional Christmas Hymns as my wife plays the piano on Christmas Eve.
I look on in this cropped photo as my wife plays traditional Christmas Hymns on the piano while the family sings along – my German wasn’t good enough to join in except in a few areas.
I’ve always loved the setting and atmosphere of a table that was nicely set and decorated for a holiday meal or special occasion – an entire storyline comes to mind of the people and their lives who are about to sit down and enjoy a nice meal.
Just as a picture tells a thousand words, a nicely set and prepared table for any function – birthday, wedding or holiday meal – creates a backstory of the lives of all the people involved.
My father-in-law prepares to take a photo of the Christmas tree, and his artistic eye for details was only matched by his depth of knowledge in almost any subject area we discussed – in perfect English.
As a school principal and teacher; band leader, music instructor and musician; historian, photographer, antique collector and restorer, antique automobile and clock restorer; and miniature train enthusiast – everything he did was with exacting detail – to include designing (along with his wife) and building this house almost single handedly.
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday – from the days when I was a small child and got up in the middle of the night and brought my pillow and blanket to sleep under the Christmas tree – after I discovered that Santa had already arrived earlier in the night on Christmas Eve.
I appreciate all nicely decorated Christmas trees and holiday settings, Christmas music, Christmas TV specials, Christmas cookies and holiday meals – as well as the year-long giving of gifts – which as the years go by my focus is only on the giving of gifts and have few needs of my own.
David takes the antique rocking horse for a spin that my father-in-law repaired and restored for Christmas the previous year; and one of the nicest gifts my wife and I ever received was a laptop computer that David gave us for Christmas in 2007 – which made this blog possible.
There is something about a rocking horse that seems so appropriate in a Christmas setting – recalling memories of youth and childhood – and reinforcing the idea of making Christmas so special for children in particular.
Our family has consistently considered ourselves the, “stewards” of the things we own; taking excellent care of them while they are in our possession – and freely giving them away all throughout the year when they no longer serve our needs – except for cars and houses…which are above our financial ability to simply give away.
David and his “Opa” or grandfather examine a new set of Legos and explore all of the parts, pieces and designs; the truth is that we have never missed a single thing that we have freely given away throughout the years.
David and his “Oma” or grandmother look over a gift to see who it is intended for; the concept of gift giving becomes even more special when it is extended throughout the year and focused on people who are in particular need.
Despite the stress our family was under and the fact that I was getting little exercise and putting on a few extra pounds in those days; I always enjoyed the Christmas holidays – and they allowed me to take my mind off of work and the task that lay ahead.
David demonstrates the look and sound effects of a T. Rex as I show him a book about dinosaurs that he received as a Christmas present.
David’s cousin opens a Christmas gift she received; and in the best of Christmas traditions this blog – with all of my photos and writings as I keep adding them over time – is my year-long free gift to all of you that join me on this very pleasant journey I call, “Life, Love and the Human Condition.”