A Gathering
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The Spectator
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 by Laramie Boyd
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
        Christmas at the Laramie and Barbara Boyd's home was, for many years, always the same. Barbara cooked all the food, and the guests ate it all. A quote often heard around the Boyd house was, "If you want any of the food, you'd better eat it now, because there won't be any left later." All the relatives, brothers, sisters, kids, even neighbors at times, mostly came to celebrate Christmas by enjoying the home cooking of Barbara. Come in, sit down, eat, open some presents, visit, stress that they'll be back next year, same time, same place, then beat it home before the traffic on Christmas Eve got too heavy.
        One year my brother Ben and I decided to liven things up. We set up a speaker system behind the couch in the living room, where most everyone would gather after the meal, and reconnect the things going on in their lives, either in small groups or the group as a whole. Then, later in the evening, Ben and I would drag out the recorder, tell everyone to gather around, and play back the evening's conversations caught on the reel tape player. Turned out there were a lot of red faces when they heard what had been recorded. One good one was, "Don't Barbara and Laramie ever turn up the heat, I'm freezing?" The answer to this was, "I don't think they even have the heat on."
        Then we'd get out some LPs (Long playing records) and listen to some Bing Crosby or Perry Como carols, and maybe Jimmy Boyd (No relation) singing "I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Clause, Underneath the Mistletoe Last Night," or Gene Autry's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." The fireplace roaring, the Christmas tree lights sparkling, the manger scene set up on the mantel, Christmas paper wrappings strewn all over the place, some people singing along with the music, good people gathered together to celebrate and observe the Christmas season each in their own way, this was what Christmas was at the Boyd house for so many consecutive years. To say that I miss those times doesn't really grasp the meaning of that statement. Some of those who came have passed on. Most have moved on in their lives. But I'm sure that they each recall how they looked forward to those good times, good food, and good company, at Barbara and Laramie's. I sure do. Times like that only go around once, and only to a select few. Merry Christmas.