Our family celebrates with traditions that are passed from generation to generation. Memories that were created many years ago with my grandparents are still carried out with my children and grandchildren today.
My dad’s mom, Bushie, was born in Poland and she made delicious kielbasa and dill pickles in the basement of her home in Michigan. The wonderful pungent aroma hit your nose as you walked down the creaking, wooden stairs to the magical land of Christmas. There was my Bushie, in her apron, lining up the mason jars to stuff with garlic, carrots, onions, and dill weed. Then at precisely the right moment, her chubby hands would place the cucumbers in the jars, seal them, and place them on the shelf.
Making kielbasa – Polish sausage – was also a sight to see as she stuffed the meat grinder with ground pork and seasonings. Placing the casing on the end of the tube, she would turn the grinder and it would become a sausage. With a twist of her wrist she would tie off the end and another sausage would be made. She repeated this process until we had a basement full of kielbasa. These were the best dill pickles and kielbasa I have ever tasted, and they were made with a grandmother’s love.
Keeping the tradition of this special Christmas breakfast, my dad would buy the casings and make kielbasa. Today, we carry this memory forward with the help of a meat market. Christmas morning still has the same smells of my childhood as our family sits down to a traditional Christmas breakfast together.
This year, as we celebrate the miracle of the Christ child, our family is celebrating the birth of our first great grandchild, Finley Kate. We are blessed to have a total of 11 grandchildren who always make this time of year festive. Seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes is a wonderful present. We hope our grandchildren will carry forward a memory that we as their grandparents created as well as those that their great, great grandparents celebrated many years ago.
I will be baking cookies with the grandkids and saving a few of them for Santa – sharing stories about times with my mom and dad and teaching them how to wrap a present or two. We will hang a special ornament on the tree from years gone by and add an ornament that has a memory from this year to the collection. Papa Steve is venturing into woodworking this Christmas and he will teach the grandkids how to hammer and saw – creating a keepsake with them that he hopes will be remembered for years to come.
As we untangle the lights and scurry around to find the right gift for each family and friend, we pause to remember it is not the gift, but the giving of our time and love spent with family and friends that makes our lights twinkle. Here’s wishing you a safe and memorable Christmas that creates lasting traditions for you and your family.
By Rockwall resident Karen Straughan, Senior Real Estate Specialist.
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