The Will and Josie Yates House – Olympia, Washington
My family, except for my Grandma Josie, were not the church going type. In fact, I don’t think I ever attended a church service of any kind with either of my parents. I did love to spend the night with my Yates grandparents on Christmas Eve though, and early in the morning on Christmas Day Grandma and I would walk down to the church nearby to their holiday services. If the weather was bad Grandpa probably drove us down there and picked us up. Grandpa never went to church with us either.
I don’t know how Grandma accomplished it, but after we got home from church she would change her clothes, put on her ever present apron and tackle the cooking of Christmas dinner. I think the Christmas spirit she received at the church services had a lot to do with it.
The turkey had been prepared and put in the oven early that morning as a combined effort by both Grandma and Grandpa. I remember one year Grandma forgot to turn on the oven and dinner was a little “late”. Even though I didn’t do any of the cooking, I did the little things I knew would make Grandma happy, like dusting under the dining room table, getting out the china and silver and setting that table, and unearthing her “special” dishes from the cupboard she liked to use as serving pieces.
One I especially loved was the footed crystal dish she used to for cranberry sauce. We always had olives and pickles (and Grandma would sneak a drink of the olive juice :::ick:::) and she would make yeast rolls from scratch. The table cloth was always a white linen damask which of course would invariably get something spilled on it like gravy or cranberries.
Before we would begin eating, either Grandpa or Grandpa would say the blessing, thanking God for the wonderfully cooked meal, the bounty that was before us, and for those who were there to celebrate the day.
I think the funniest ‘tradition’ we had during Christmas dinner was when we would be in the full throes of eating and Grandpa would reach under the table to his left and pinch Grandma’s knee. She’d give out a loud squeal and say, “Oh Daddy!” and then giggle till she lost her breath. Grandpa thought it was great fun, and obviously it was memorable for Dave and I too.
I’m participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 sponsored by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers fame. Won’t you join us as we blog about our memories through the month of December?
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