Monday, December 05, 2011

Love and Olives

One of the greatest mysteries in my mystery-filled life is why I think of the things I do, and why I think of them when I do. With Christmas approaching, thoughts naturally tend to swirl around holiday thoughts and memories. But even with that semi-limitation, there are still so very many with no logical reason for any one individual thoughts to surface. Why, for example, am I thinking of the fact that every Christmas up until I went off to college, my beloved Aunt Thyra would, apart from a regular gift, bring me a jar of olives, which she knew I loved. A small gesture, insignificant to most, but outstanding to me.

I suspect that minds, like motors and engines, have governors which keep them from racing out of control. My mind, I fear, did not come with a governor. It operates like a gas pedal held to the floorboard. To me, thoughts are as numerous, varied, and unique as snowflakes, and I live in a continual blizzard. Trying to catch one single thought for a blog is not unlike trying to catch a single snowflake. And the very fact that this paragraph contains three separate metaphors is symptomatic of the problem. I can't keep up with my thoughts, let alone try to control them.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that my thoughts are not infrequently accompanied by vivid mental images and, occasionally, smells. An instant ago, thinking of Christmas, I smelled pine needles, and am having, as I write, a vivid mental picture of those little electric Christmas tree candle lights popular during the 1950s. And another, just now, of making chain wreaths from small strips of colored paper, the ends of the first piece glued together with a paste of flour and water to make a loop, then another strip of paper inserted through the loop and it's ends glued together to form the second loop in the chain, and so on. Similar wreaths could also be made from popcorn strung together with a needle in thread, though the few times I tried it were notably flawed by my eating the popcorn faster than I could string it.

As you have probably noticed by now, I've given up on any attempt at control, and am just letting my mind run wild and jotting down those thoughts which stick just long enough to be written.

Oddly...and I now realize, thoughts of my folks at Christmas always seem to center more on my mother than my father. I suppose this is fairly typical; all holidays, Christmas in particular, seem to be orchestrated more by mothers than fathers. And possibly the fact that I was a "momma's boy" had something to do with it.

I do remember the extreme delight I took in not only opening presents from my folks, but seeing their reactions when they opened theirs from me. The nicest present I ever got for them was a trip to Hawaii in 1960; I can't pick out any single gift I received from them as being the "nicest"...they were all wonderful, and I truly wish I had more fully appreciated the sacrifices they made in getting them for me. (And I qualify that last sentence slightly remembering the beautiful statue of Hamlet my mom got for me and which I still have. She and I had been out Christmas shopping and I'd seen it in a store and fell in love with it. It was extremely expensive, even for those days, but when I opened my presents that Christmas, there it was.)

My parents were not well-off, financially, and both worked full dad mostly in a factory, my mom as a pay the bills and support me. But I cannot recall, now, ever feeling deprived of anything I truly wanted. But of all the gifts I ever received, of all the pleasant thoughts I have ever had, none compares to my gratitude for the totally unconditional love I received from my mother and my father and my family. I was truly, truly blessed, and would give anything in the world to let them know how much I loved, and still love, them. And oh, Aunt Thyra, how I would love a jar of olives.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs ( ).

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

Aww! I love the memories in this that came back to you, especially the olives and the statue. It's often the seemingly little tastes we have someone remembers that can have the most impact.

As for the statue, my mother has always been extremely astute in watching me when we'd go shopping. She often goes for that one special thing that I would not get for myself or would dissuade her from buying for me.

I very much enjoyed this one, D.