I realize it is only just a few days before Christmas, but I know it is never too late to let you know what I’m wishing for this Christmas. As silly as it sounds, this year my Christmas wishes aren’t for anything brand new, but rather for things that are old. Many of the items on my Christmas List aren’t even “things,” but are special moments in time.
I have been a reasonably good boy this year, so I hope you can find room in your sleigh and in your heart to make all of my Christmas wishes come true. Some of the things on my list might sound a little bit silly, but I hope you understand how wonderful it would be for me have them or to experience them “just one more time.”
I would like:
to be able to attend our family’s Christmas Eve Valija just one more time with my mom and dad and brother Steve, all of my aunts and uncles and cousins, and of course, Grandpa and Grandma. All of the recipes and the entire menu was brought to this country by my Grandma from her home in Czechoslovakia and the family has gathered every Christmas Eve since 1907 to celebrate and pray together before attending Midnight Mass.
Although I’m sure you already know this, but please be sure that there is plenty of food for everyone. Slovak Christmas Eve Soups, both mushroom, and pea/potato; both sauerkraut bobalky and poppyseed bobalky; freshly baked ham; blessed Oplatky; stuffed cabbage and kielbasa; cooked potatoes; and finally, a bevy of delicious desserts including poppyseed rolls, not rolls, apricot horns and even cheregi!
Rodina a potravín a láska!
to be in Duquesne as a young boy on Christmas Eve. There’s a beautiful snowfall and the streets and sidewalks are covered and glistening white. My dad and I are attending Midnight Mass at Holy Name Church. There are so many people attending mass we have to park up the street from the church on Kennedy Ave. As Dad and I walk toward the church, the only sounds are of the snow crunching beneath our shoes and the muffled sounds of the steel mills just below the softly glowing orange tinted sky.
to be at my Aunt Mary’s house on Christmas day. My cousins Paula and Karla are there as well as Aunt Mary and Uncle Lou. We’re exchanging presents with each other and delighting in each present as it’s opened. When I am finally able to give Aunt Mary my gift to her, I once again succeed in bringing her to tears as she opens it.
a large pizza with pepperoni from Irene’s Pizza on Grant Avenue in Duquesne. Please be sure the pieces are cut into their neat little square and are loaded with their delicious mozzarella cheese.
to be able to go to the Duquesne Carnegie Library and check out my favorite Christmas book, Dicken’s Christmas Carol, and enjoy it once again as I read it in my bedroom before Christmas.
to be able to Christmas shop along North 1st Street and Grant Street in Duquesne. To be able to visit stores like Karen’s Shoe Store, G.C.Murphy, Avenue News, Adler-Greens, Woody’s Drug Store, Sally Fashions, and all of the stores of my youth.
to be able to drive through the streets of Duquesne with my parents and admire all of the beautiful, well-kept homes that were brightly decorated for the season with strings of multicolored lights surrounding the windows and doors. Each window contained electric candles with brightly burning orange bulbs.
to be able to help my dad pick out our Christmas tree and assist him as he shaped and prepared the tree in our garage. I would help him drill holes and add branches to fill out the tree into a perfect shape, and then hold my breath as we would empty can after can of spray snow to create the perfectly shaped white flocked tree.
to be able to help my mom address the dozens and dozens of Christmas cards we would send out each year. It would be like email, text messages and cell phones didn’t exist, and stamps only cost a nickel!
I know it might seem like a lot to ask for Santa, but it all happened before, so perhaps it can happen again. Maybe, just maybe, it won’t be too hard for you to do.
That the world today will become a world that is safe for all children, whether they be in their home, a movie theater or even in their classroom. Please Santa, grant me that one wish over all the others.
Thanks Santa, and Merry Christmas!