With Christmas creeping around the corner, I woke up with this memory that made me smile till I cried. So here we go.
It was Christmas of 1993 or 1994 and my Mom and Dad had invited my aunt from the Valley up for Christmas with the family. By doing that, this meant that my older brother Robert and I had to “willingly” give up our beds for the family and we took the floor in the living room. Our house was full that Christmas break with four adults and four “kids” under the age of eighteen. Mom and Tia had already planned out the assembly line for the Garcia pan de polvo that was part of the Christmas plates that Mom always made for the people that she didn’t know what to get a gift for. This year I was at both the front and the back of the assembly line. I had to cut the cookies, place them on the sheets and after they were cooked and powdered, I had to “neatly” organize them into those weird Tupperware bowls that almost every mom had back in the 70s and 80s.
Each plate had a piece of sweet bread, some pan de polvo, a tamale or two and that ribbon candy that mom would search most of Alice and Kingsville for in order to make the plates complete. This year I had promised Mom and Dad that I would deliver those plates to one and all. So armed with my trusty mix tape and my dollar store Santa hat, I loaded up the Bandit (our 1986 Nissan Truck) with all the plates and went on my way. Little did I know that, my brother always requested to do the deliveries because everyone always gave him extra cookies, candies, or tamales…well this time it was my time to indulge. I remember leaving the house at around 11am and didn’t get home until a little after 6pm. My cousins had asked if we were going to midnight mass but our Tia Sara told the kids that we would go to church in the morning after we opened presents.
After my brother and I started to set up the “visitor bed”, also known as our thickest blanket on the floor, two pillows and a cover sheet, we laid down at the foot of the Garcia Christmas tree. I remember looking up at the tree, covered in at least 3 strands of lights and somewhere near 300 ornaments (including every ornament ever made by me or my brothers and the special memory ornament that mom took the time to find for everyone in the family) and smelling of warmed up, fake plastic branches and lit up the entire living room and dining room with no problem at all and hearing footsteps.
My brother Robert pretends to wake up and says, “Santa? Is that you?”
Mind you, my brother is an 18 year old at this point and my Mom tells him to shut up as she begins to swat him with one of her leather sandals (the chankla). Mom then walked to the bathroom and on her way back she stopped by and said, “Just remember the moment that you stop believing in Santa is the moment that you stop getting gifts.”
This is yet another rule in my house that I have borrowed from my Mom.
Sorry for not attaching pictures to this one but it has been a tough year and that is all.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!