Sunday, December 25, 2011

What If. . .Santa Could

My favorite footnoteMaven Family Christmas Story!
Merry Christmas To You All!

Dillon, Heather, Wyatt

My daughter called. Wyatt, he of the Who's The Man On That Coin fame, had written a letter. A letter to Santa. A letter to Santa in March.

"Wow," I said. "He really is giving Santa a lot of time. It must be something big, what is it? A car?"

"No," my daughter answered. "Here, why don't I let Wyatt tell you." She handed the phone to Wyatt, and I heard him asking in the background, "Which Grandma is it?" "My Mom," she replied. It's always good to have your Grandmas straight, especially when you're going to talk about Santa I thought.

"Hi Grandma."

"Hey, Wyatt, I hear you wrote a letter to Santa." I cheerfully responded. "What did you ask for?"

"Do you want me to read the letter?" he asked.

"I'd love it, Wyatt."

He dropped the phone and ran to get his letter.

He got back on the phone and immediately started reading. "Merry Christmas, Wyatt to Santa. Can you bring my Dad's Dad back?"

I paused for a moment while he waited for my response. Needless to say I wasn't expecting this and I didn't want my emotions to show in my voice. Wyatt's Dad, my son-in-law, lost his father to MS when he was twelve years old. They were very close. They had done everything together; hunting, fishing, camping, all the "boy stuff." My son-in-law talks of his father often and still visits his grave.

"Wyatt, that's a lovely wish. Why did you ask for that?"

"It would make my Dad very happy," he answered so matter of factly.

Yes, yes it would. Things are so clear and simple when you're six while being at the same time so extremely complex.

"Grandma would like to write about your letter on her blog, if it's O.K. with you," I told Wyatt.

"Can you put it in the newspapers," he wanted to know.

"No, just on my blog. Will that do?"

"With the Alien Baby," he sounded a bit more excited. "Yes, with the Alien Baby," I confirmed. Thank heaven someone in my family reads me.

"Yep, Grandma," he yelled as he dropped the phone and ran off; Grandma time now boring him.

Oh WyMan, what a pure heart and an old soul. What if . . . Santa could! Why, I'd even write him.

Originally posted in December 2009. The Boys have grown and should now be thoroughly embarrassed by their Grandmother writing about them.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas The Night Before GeneaChristmas

Another tradition! A version of "Twas The Night Before" has been posted on footnoteMaven every year since December 24, 2007. The only changes have been to include advances in technology and now, social media. So as you wait for Santa, please enjoy!

Twas the night before GeneaChristmas and from coast to coast,
every GeneaBlogger had penned their last post.

Had told Christmas stories both merry and bright
while blog caroling old favorites on YouTube all night.

There’d been last minute Tweets, facebooking and song.
We’d shared Christmas memories, all played along.

Nothing’s left for us now but to track Old St. Nick;
New Jersey, Missouri, Seattle, he’s quick.

Before this night’s over his reindeer’ll alight
on the roof tops of GeneaBloggers to right

The wrongs of the census, transcription, and fire;
to give each of us our one true heart’s desire.

Please, one missing ancestor, one smashed brick wall,
then dash away, dash away, dash away all.

I’ve not been naughty, I've tried hard to be nice.
Collecting old photos my one proven vice.

Reward me dear Santa I’ll promise you this;
the year 2012 will be one not to miss!

And I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight.

Merry Christmas To All and To All A Good Night!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ghost Of Christmas Past

MARLEY was dead: to begin with.
There is no doubt whatever about that.

~ Charles Dickens ~
A Christmas Carol

It happened as I was reading the blog caroling posts
. I was visited by The Ghost Of Christmas Past. The Christmas Carols conjured up the Ghost and its images of that Christmas past. Not all family history is the way we would have written it if we were given a choice. We all know that from experience. This remembrance is of a Christmas tragedy, there is no happy ending; if you would like to stop reading here, I will understand completely.

It was December 21. I left my office at lunch to pick up those last minute odds and ends. Small things for the children's stockings and some food favorites for Christmas dinner. The world at that time didn't walk around with a bluetooth in its ear, a cell phone in its purse or pocket, or in my case even an answering machine.

When I returned to my office a Sheriff's Deputy was waiting for me. I knew something was desperately wrong, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't speak. "You need to call your Mother," he said. "I'm very sorry." I heard a loud and painful moan, and then realized it was coming from me.

The night before, my Father ("There'll Be No Hell For Dogs") had gone out in his front yard to listen to the neighborhood carolers and suffered a heart attack. The paramedics arrived, revived him and transported him to the hospital. My youngest Brother and my Mother went there with him. He was sitting up in bed and talking. He told my Brother he was fine, that he loved him, and that he should go home. My Brother left, my Mother stayed. My Mother was a cardiac intensive care nurse in the very unit my father was a patient, she would not leave him. Mom and Dad talked and decided to call the rest of us in the morning when Dad would be discharged.

Several hours later, during the early morning hours of December 21, my Father suffered a massive heart attack in the hospital and died.

My other Brother and I both lived in California. After speaking with my Mother we made arrangements and traveled to Florida. Going in the house was so difficult, Dad was everywhere. He had spent hours putting up the Christmas decorations, there were presents under the tree with his name on them, and his tools were sitting on his workbench in the garage, just where he had left them when he went out to listen to carolers.

Most of this time is a blur. I think the mind does that to make the memory of the pain less knife sharp. If only the family tragedy ended here, but it doesn't.

My Father's brothers arrived from Missouri for the funeral. They looked so much like Dad. It was a comfort and yet so visual a reminder that he was missing. During the funeral one of my Uncles stood next to me and held my hand, none of us knowing that at that very moment his pain was about to become immeasurable.

At that very moment, in Missouri, in my Uncle's backyard, his daughter, my cousin, was taking her own life. She left no note. The family has speculated for years on her reasons and her timing. My Uncle always believed she was murdered. The police reports were thorough and final, it was a suicide. She was obviously in pain, but this act of suicide was so selfish. Selfish and cruel.

As adults we know that not every Christmas is "Merry and Bright." Christmas memories are what you make of them. I have made some wonderful memories for my children and their children, I did it for them, for me, and for Dad. How he loved Christmas!

I work very hard for good memories, but every year at this time some memories of Christmas past slip into my conscious thoughts and they are still painful.

The next visit will be from The Ghost Of Christmas Present in Part 2 of A Charles Dickens Christmas COG.

The original story was told December 2007.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the footnoteMaven to the Bloggers all
Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing thru the web, Bloggers all
Do you hear what I hear?

A song, a song
With a Christmas Ring

Why it must be Blog Caroling

Why it must be Blog Caroling

Come Blog Caroling With Us
Songs, songs
sung by a choir of
Genealogy & Family History Angels,
Blog Caroling!

carol. French carole. Originally a song to accompany dancing,
but later, by common usage, it came to refer to old,
Christmas-season religious songs.

Caroling, also known as wassailing, actually began in medieval times as a pagan ritual. The wassail, a hot beverage usually made with hot ale or mulled cider, was a ritual honoring the apple and fruit orchards in the dead of winter. Farmers went from farm to farm pouring wassail on the roots of trees while making a lot of noise to scare off the bad spirits responsible for making the days shorter and colder. Eventually the custom of going door to door singing and drinking became a Christmas tradition. (This is one of the many versions of the story of caroling, but all agree it is rooted in pagan ritual.)

Carols were formerly sung at large Christmas feasts and family dinners, in the open air on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, and at the time of public worship in the churches on Christmas Day.

You will note as you travel around caroling that the women singers far outnumber the men.

Perhaps this explains why:
In Pasquils' "Jests," an old book published in 1604, there is a story of an eccentric knight who, at a Christmas feast which he had made for a large number of his tenants and friends, ordered no man at the table to drink a drop "till he that was master over his wife should sing a carol."

After a pause one poor dreamer alone lifted his voice, the others all sitting silent and glum. Then the knight turned to the table where the women sat, and bade "her who was master over her husband" sing a carol. The story says that forthwith "the women fell all to singing, that there was never heard such a catter-walling piece of musicke."
Let The Blog Caroling Begin!

Cindy Scherwinski of In My Life, carols Enya singing Silent Night.

Karen Krugman of Genealogy Frame Of Mind says "Got the eggnog and my sweetie as we blog carol to "All I Want For Christmas Is You," by Vince Vance & the Valiants.

Bill West, West in New England, Hi fM! Here's my now traditional "I Saw Three Ships."

Joan of Roots'N'Leaves says - Merry, merry, to fM, Here is my all time favorite "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear."

FM, I love this fun event! Dorene from Ohio blog carols Away in a Manger at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky BayDelete.
GeneaPopPop of Stardust'n'Roots said - With egg nog in hand, I am delighted to make this a new holiday tradition for me! Here's my favorite -- "I Wonder as I Wander."
Got a box of tissues? Here's mine - Michelle Robillard, Call Me-shell, "Adeste Fideles" Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

In the 1960s, we sang Star of the East in the annual Christmas pageant put on by the local schools . . . those were the days! . . . here's wishing a Merry Christmas to you and yours . . . from BeNotForgot aka Vickie E. . . .

I chose my favorite holiday song, "Little Drummer Boy." I found a video with one of my favorite voices and animation that is also one of my favs. Thanks fM, for a wonderful meme at the holidays. Carol, Reflections From the Fence.

Jo of Those Who Went Before carols - So many favorites but I have chosen Carol of the Bells; an instrumental version by pianist George Winston. Looking forward to all the favorites.

Denise Spurlock, Reflecting on Genealogy says My favorite: What Child Is This? Happy holidays!

Deborah Andrew of The Sum Of All My Research made me laugh. You'll see why. Deb, if you can sing it, go for it. She said, "Ok, so I was so excited to participate. Made the post. Posted it. Then realized that you really couldn't go caroling with the song. It's more just my favorite Christmas Song. :( But thought I would still let you know that I participated...sort of. Anyway, I picked "You're a mean one Mr Grinch." Maybe before the 14th I can come up with a real caroling song and do a post about that.....I'll have to let you know. Chalk it up to too much eggnog. :P"

Gini of Ginisology tells us, "I picked both mine and my mom's favorite, Silent Night, in German, Stille Nacht. Had to have the tissues ready as I posted this one. Merry Christmas to you all . . . ."

Thank you fM for continuing this wonderful holiday tradition! I am pleased to offer two pieces this year, one on each of my blogs, 'On a flesh and bone foundation': An Irish History - A traditional Irish carol, 'The Wexford Carol' and 'Over thy dead body':The Cemetery Blog - 'Angels We Have Heard On High'. All the best to you and yours this holiday season! Jennifer

Apple of Apple's Tree tells us, "It wasn't hard to pick a carol this year. I'll Be Home for Christmas."

Caroline Pointer, of Family Stories says, "Okay, here's this year's selection. Drink up! ;) Caroling with Grandma. Lookout for that reindeer.

Terri O'Connell of Finding Our Ancestors carols Silent Night and tells us "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!"

Lisa of 1 Ancestry 2 Little Time says, "This is terrific! My fave is "O Holy Night" especially when performed by Josh Groban. Thanks for this blogging fun!"

Mary from Me and My Ancestors picked another carol from the Fogotten Carols. Let Him In. Have a Merry & Blessed Christmas!

Jacqi Stevens of A Family Tapestry says, "Thank you, fM, for this splendid opportunity! I wasn't sure I'd be able to participate, as I'm in the middle of a series on WWII letters home from my father-in-law that I won't complete until after Christmas. But then it hit me: amidst the palm trees in the south Pacific...what better choice than to insert the original intro to "White Christmas"?! And so, I can be part of the party, after all! Enjoy! And have a wonderful Christmas, no matter where you are stationed this December 25!

Leslie Brinkley Lawson of Genealogy and Other Thoughts says she can't pick just one. Perhaps, but she sure can pick her men. Go listen here.

I'm joining the choir! Nancy of My Ancestors and Me carols "The Sussex Carol." Thank you so much for hosting, footnoteMaven. Nancy, the tag is fine.

Jacqueline Foster says, "Thanks FM, caroling in you jammies, great idea. My favorite carol is "Here Comes Santa Claus". Posted on my blog at My Journey Back.

Denise Olson of the Moultrie Creek Gazette says "This year I'm singing Silent Night with Bob Hope and the three generations of troops he entertained at Christmas. Silent Night with Bob Hope.

Wendy tells us "I'm singing "Mary Did You Know?" so join me at Jollett, etc.

Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family carols I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy carols "The Holly and the Ivy."

The Road Backwards' Karen carols "Ding Dong Merrily On High!"

Greta Koehl of Greta's Genealogy Bog carols "Heaven and Earth."

Dawn Westfall of Wisteria loves to carol in all forms :) and joins Blog Caroling with O Holy Night.

Linda McCauley invites us to The Temptations singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at Documenting the Details.

Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, says, "It's still Silent Night! Happy Christmas, Merry Holidays.

Nancy of Gathering Stories tells us it's, "Not a traditional carol but a gorgeous Christmas song nonetheless- Rose of Bethlehem.

Shelley Bishop is chiming in with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" at A Sense of Family (and there's also a bonus, just to add to the fun). I loved it!!!

It's All Relative's Laura Aanenson gives us her kinda silly entry, a special Twelve Days.

Whitney Houston's Joy to the World comes to us from Linda Rudd of Between the Gateposts.

Liv of Claiming Kin says, "Thanks so much for this opportunity to participate and add my favorite Christmas carol - What Child is This? - to this year's event!

Jasia, our Creative Gene tells us, "My latest favorite Christmas carol is "Let It Snow" by the cast of Glee! Come sing along with me!

Ready to go caroling! Dang, I'm out of eggnog! Leslie Ann of Ancestors Live Here carols
I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmus!

Merry Christmas to you, dear footnoteMaven! I couldn't miss out on this year's caroling. "O Holy Night" is my favorite, and I've shared it over at 100 Years in America. Visit Lighting the Way for the Christ Child to read about my childhood Christmas Eves and how my family and I celebrated the holiest night of the year.

Angela Y. Walton carols "Mary Had a Baby at My Ancestor's Name. Sorry Angela, didn't get your comment.

Sarah Greenleaf of My Mouse Is Broken carols "Mary Did You Know" and tells us that she loves seeing what everyone chooses.

Craig Manson, carols O Little Town of Bethlehem, posted at GeneaBlogie.

Anglers Rest is blog caroling Carol of the Bells at Anglers Rest.

And my own, Good Bloggers All This Christmas Time - The Wexford Carol.

Thank You For Keeping This Tradition
I enjoyed each & every one of your carols
I experienced some new & some old
(Bloggers that is)
I listened to each beautiful arrangement

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good Bloggers All This Christmas Time

The Wexford Carol
("Good People All, This Christmastime")
(Enniscorthy Carol)

carol. French carole. Originally a song to accompany dancing,
but later, by common usage, it came to refer to old,
Christmas-season religious songs.

To Blog Carol I have selected probably the best known of Irish Christmas songs (and my very favorite carol), "The Wexford Carol." The Wexford Carol has roots reaching back to twelfth century Ireland, traceable to the proximity of the County and town of Wexford. The Wexford Carol was included in The Oxford Book of Carols and tells the story of the birth of Christ.

It is interesting to note that Christmas carols were rare in Ireland, but County Wexford has a 300 year tradition of handing down carols from generation to generation. Families in the area were each entrusted with a carol and with sharing that particular carol with the generations. During Christmas the carols were sung in the homes of these families and in the church by the choir. The choir consisted of six men who sang the carols unaccompanied.

Please sing along with this beautiful rendition; YoYo Ma and Allison Krauss performing The Wexford Carol.

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending His belovèd Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day;
In Bethlehem upon the morn
There was a blest Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide
The noble virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark how all things came to pass:
From every door repelled, alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble oxen stall.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God’s angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
“Prepare and go”, the angels said,
“To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
For there you’ll find, this happy morn,
A princely Babe, sweet Jesus born.”

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God’s angel has foretold,
They did our Savior Christ behold.
Within a manger He was laid,
And by His side the virgin maid
Attending to the Lord of Life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.

Merry Christmas

I hear you singing, my friends.
How I love Blog Caroling!!
What a joyous noise we will make
when we all come together to sing-along.

Remember, you have until midnight in
Hawaii, Today, to sing-along!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The footnoteMaven's Christmas Tradition of Blog Caroling

Yes, Geneabloggers it's time for fM's favorite Christmas tradition. From the comfort of my blog, with Hot Toddy in hand, my flannel jammies and furry slippers on, I will blog my favorite Christmas Carol on Wednesday, December 14. (I sing so much better online than in person!)

So my fellow GeneaBloggers, I challenge each of you to blog your favorite Christmas Carol - Blog Caroling. We'll all sing along! (Blog Caroling is posting the lyrics, youtube video, etc. of your favorite Christmas carol on your blog.)

Blog Carol between today and Wednesday, 14 December. Post a note to the comments for this article directing us to your Blog Caroling Post and I will create a listing of all our favorites. (Please list Your Name, Blog Name, Favorite Carol and the link to your post in the comments below.)

If you sing along with us, feel free to snag the Victorian Santa Blog Caroling Badge above. When you select the badge, select "Save As" and choose the .png file. This has a transparent background and will show minus the white background.

The date tag is a modified Katie Pertiet, Counting Christmas Tags No. 2 on Designer Digitals. It's on special today.

Monday, December 5, 2011

COG 113 - A Charles Dickens Christmas

113th EDITION OF THE Carnival Of Genealogy

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is:

A Charles Dickens Christmas!

- ¤ -

We're going to borrow Charles Dickens' idea and have some visits from
the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

- ¤ -

First show us a photo from a Christmas/Hanuka/Kwanzaa past and
tell us what you know about it (or just share a story about a
past holiday if you don't have a photo to share).

- ¤ -

Then share a photo from your Christmas/Hanuka/Kwanzaa celebration
this year (it can be a photo of holiday lights, a tree, etc., it doesn't have
to have people in it) and tell us something about how you'll be
celebrating the holiday this year.

- ¤ -

And lastly, write about a future Christmas and how you'd like
to celebrate it. (Feel free to let your imaginations go on this one!)

- ¤ -

Write up your visits by the ghosts of Christmas past, present,
and future and submit them to the Carnival of Genealogy.

- ¤ -

The Deadline For Submissions Is
January 1st, 2012

- ¤ - ¤ -

Merry Christmas to the Queen of the COG!
Creative Gene!

- ¤ - ¤ -

Attention All COG Participants

Read Also The Changes To The COG In 2011

Submit your article using the Blog Submission Form found here. Please use a descriptive phrase in the title of any articles you plan to submit and/or write a brief description/introduction to your articles in the "comment" box of the blogcarnival submission form. This will give readers an idea of what you've written about and hopefully interest them in clicking on your link. Introductions for your articles will not be provided for you due to the volume of articles submitted. Thank you!