Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Tribe Scribe Rises

The Tribe Scribe Rises

2014 Hanna Christmas Memories

Lovingly dedicated to the memory of Maurice “Uncle Ric" Sexton

PJ: "Has anyone seen my new Star Wars blanket?"

Tribe Scribe: "No, but I might let you borrow MY new Star Wars blanket if you’re really good . . .and get it right back to me!"


In many ways Christmas is like a DeLorean, ripping across time at 88 miles per hour, enabling us to visit the past, the present and the future. We gather all of our carefully preserved decorations and place them lovingly around the house and on the Christmas tree; we revel in the memories those decorations inspire, and we prepare hopefully and joyously for a new round of memories to be made in the days ahead. Making the long trek to North Carolina from Texas I had plenty of time to reflect on my favorite Christmas memories, many of which involve the Hanna side of the family. 

Since those early Christmas memories of being at Grandmommy and Pop’s house and involve trying very hard to go to sleep so Santa could come, Christmas has been transformed in my mind. Certainly the religious aspect of the day has become more prevalent in my life, but I have also gone from being the wide-eyed child eagerly anticipating the magic of Christmas morning to being one of the parents in charge of preserving that magic for my own little wide-eyed child. Most of all, I have come to value quality time with friends and family over anything that could be wrapped up and placed under the tree.

Needless to say, the most exciting part about Christmas this year was being around the extended family I love so dearly, and the most valuable gift I gave my beautiful and vibrant daughter Riley was quality time with her cousins from around the country . . .though I’m sure she will tell you her favorite present involved “Frozen” princesses!

Monday, December 22: The Arrival

Tribe Scribe: "PJ! I really like that Star Wars blanket!"

After breaking the 16-hour drive from Dallas to Winston-Salem into two days, the Ingram contingency of Clan Hanna arrived at Lamm Lodge East with a car full of presents, luggage and all of the accoutrements necessary to stage a successful Christmas. Hurricane Christmas was already in full force, of course, with Grandmommy and Pop doing everything from piling in groceries and preparing menus to writing holiday homilies and preparing for what promised to be our Christmas Eve service at First Pres Thomasville.

Riley hit the door running  . . .well, chasing . . . after Ginger, who does not enjoy being chased nearly as much as the faithful beagle Bear who resides at Casa Ingram. Hungarian ghoulish was already on the stove, with bread and final preparations waiting for the final ETA of the Heusinger clan from San Antonio. Meanwhile, an entire bag of those new Ritz chips was hungrily consumed. (You should try them! And this is not a paid endorsement!)

A couple of hours later, dinosaurs, Star Wars gear and rum in hand, Sharon, PJ, Emma and Mikey (we missed you, Zoe!) piled in through the door and the partying commenced. After dinner and following the all-important construction of a Frozen princess castle made out of cookies and candy, Christmas movies took center stage. Once the children we adequately worn out (by each other!), the adults settled in for multiple episodes of the new Cosmos . . .and multiple glasses of Coke Zero and rum.

The Christmas holiday had officially arrived!

Tuesday, December 23rd

PJ: "I could have sworn my new Star Wars blanket was here when I went to sleep!"

With the Christmas blizzard officially in place and Lamm Lodge East suitably buried in toys and the blur of children very busily not playing with them, several expeditions went forth into retail mania to fill out those final holes on various wish lists. PJ needed coffee, Sharon and Bill needed rum, and Riley just needed to get out of the house. (Here I insert a special shout-out to Chik-fil-a, with the comparatively healthy fast food and the indoor playground - also not a paid endorsement!) 

After filling out the rest of their Christmas shopping, PJ, Bill and Riley returned home and Sharon and Bill embarked on two very important missions: 1) Find long pants for PJ, who packed for Texas weather instead of North Carolina weather. 2) MORE RUM!

Comfort food, more Christmas movies, a gingerbread castle, LOTS of popcorn and more Cosmos . . .and the house seemed as prepared as it could possibly be for the arrival of Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 24th

Tribe Scribe: "Sharon, I really love this Star Wars blanket you made for me!"

You know, it’s a real shame that Disney has apparently misplaced one of the most wonderful movie series of the Christmas season. We looked everywhere for the Santa Clause series, and we just couldn’t find any of them. The Ingram set didn’t make it from Dallas, where they had already been watched at least 5 times each, and no one else had them or could find them. Note to self for next Christmas: Take all three Santa Clause movies wherever we go. Tim Allen is simply wonderful!!

After facing three stores with gaping holes where the new Ritz cracker chips were supposed to be, we finally found some. They didn’t go as fast as the hot, fresh communion bread did after the service as First Pres, but they certainly didn’t run any risk of going stale, either. Now, if we could just find some Bisquick . . .
The family then bundled up and headed to First Pres for a warm and wonderful Christmas Eve service including music from various members of the clan and what may have been Pop’s last Christmas homily, as the plan is for him to retire to the mountains this summer. Riley even did an impromptu interpretive dance during special music to the delight of all! Following the service, the kids made sure there that any crumbs of the communion bread were much too small for Who mouses and we returned to the house to make final preparations for the big red guy’s arrival. 

Yes, of course Meet Me In St. Louis is a Christmas movie! And so is Mary Poppins! (Especially when we don’t have the Tim Allen Santa Clause movies.) After Mary Poppins saved the Banks family once more, Riley, Emma and Mikey put out the reindeer food, the freshly-baked Frozen cookies for Santa, poured him a tall glass a icy cold and festive egg nog, and headed for bed. With the children nestled all snug in their beds, having been read The Grinch, Twas the Night Before Christmas and Rudolph, Santa enlisted the help of PJ and Yours Truly, in particular, to do the annual construction of North Pole presents.

Portions of this entry have been redacted by the CIA (Christmas Intelligence Agency).

The XXXXXXX was XXX and XXXX XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXX XXXXX when XXXXX PJ XXXXXX screwdriver XXXXXXX didn’t work! So we XXXXXX the XXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXX XXXX and put it in the XXXXX. When that didn’t work, XXXX hit the XXXX with the XXXX and XXXX XXXX XXX a band-aid to try and stop the bleeding. Bill tried XXXXXX the XXXX with the XXXXXX and wished like hell that the people who wrote the directions had been English-speaking. Then they tried XXXXX the XXXXX with the XXXXX and by some miracle it worked. XXXX XXXXXXXXX XX X X X XXXXXX XXXX XXXX X X X  XXXX X X X X XXXXX X XXXX and there was a beautiful new Frozen Big Wheel sparkling under the Christmas tree!

Redactions end here.

With all presents wrapped, the stockings … laid … by the … wood stove … with care, Santa’s elves resumed their enjoyment of Cosmos and popcorn until sleep overcame them.


Tribe Scribe (warmly wrapped up in a comfy blanket with X-Wing fighters and other sci-fi-looking things on it): “Let the unwrapping begin!”

PJ: “Has anyone seen my new Star Wars blanket????”

Wrapping paper flew, presents piled up, small children squealed . . .and Sam’s Wholesale Club started bidding on Pop’s super-sized supply of Yukon Jack (be careful what you wish for!). The beautiful weather allowed for plenty of outdoor fun for the kids while the grownups cooked and basked in the success of the presents they so carefully chose for the younger generation. The day after Christmas would see the Lamm Lodge contingency headed up the mountain for a few days in Burnsville with the extended Hanna Clan, so preparations were also underway for a massive migration to the high country. 

An evening of Christmas movies, including “A Very Merry Muppet Christmas,” ended with the kids only slightly less exhausted than the adults. 

Friday and Saturday, December 26th and 27th

Mikey: “Where’s my bedroom?”

Tribe Scribe: “It’s right there - on the floor in front if the living room window!”

It just wouldn’t be a family reunion if someone didn’t have car trouble, and this time it was the Ingram transporter that needed attention. Thankfully, one replaced tire later, the caravan was ready to hit the road to the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

PJ: “What’s in the new Lamm Cottage?”

Tribe Scribe: “Only what you take with you.”

This particular part of the trip required a little more imagination than did the preceding days. Lamm Cottage was not quite ready for prime time, so the bare living room floor became the master suite at the Hilton for a couple of days. The lack of internet, refrigerator, and basically any other technology made it something like a camp out in the mountains, only with heat and electricity. The microwave performed admirably and the local restaurants and grocery stores benefited from the other shortfalls.

The best part, of course, was quality time spent with family for most of that evening and the following day. No matter what lies waiting, wrapped in mystery under the tree, nothing could be more special than the simple gift of time with loved ones. I took particular delight in watching Zoe, Riley, Mikey and Emma run around the beautiful yard around Ward Warren playing pirates and exploring secret places they discovered. It reminded me of many a trip to Galveston, where Cathy, Andy and I did very much the same things. I also - always - enjoyed the heightened intellectual climate inside the house … as well as Uncle Jon’s resplendent rum recipes!  It was also wonderful to meet Christine, the lovely young lady who seems to have plucked Sean’s heart off of the season’s proverbial pear tree.

It was all over too quickly, of course, but then Christmas always is. Before we could wink  the families who traveled so far to bask in the glow of each other’s company were scurrying back to their corners of the country to resume their journeys through the more mundane parts of the calendar. 

But what a fine time we had . . .and what a wonderful bunch of people with whom to pass the most sacred time of the year!

My fondest and dearest wish is that my own daughter will think back on this Christmas and remember how special her parents made it . . .how wonderful it was to be with family and have so many cousins to share it with . . .and seek to carry on the tradition when her time comes.


Tribe Scribe: "Fine, PJ! You can go ahead and have my Star Wars blanket that your mom made for you!"


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