We Had Fun

Sharing Stories

An avid writer and student of life--Jack Hansen.

"We Had Fun"

My wife Sheila and I spent last Saturday night at the Taproot Theatre in Greenwood. Christmas storytelling was the highlight of our two-hour evening. As I listened to the accounts of others from Seattle, my thoughts were drawn to my own Christmas memories.

I have seven brothers, and we lived in an old three-story house with an attached barn in Bangor, Maine. Christmas was a fun time for all of us. We shared our anticipation of all the holiday events.

One year stands out from all the others. Our family had cut the tree on a local forest excursion. We set it in the corner of the parlor…the front room. One Saturday afternoon, my mother brought us together to trim the tree. When we had finished, we knew the decoration with all the colors was a superb masterpiece.

As we placed gifts under the tree, we were surprised at the number of them. The presents stretched from the tree to the entry door. My brothers and I counted a 110 wrapped items. We became more excited. A full week loomed in our future before we could unwrap these mysteries.

Time during the week before Christmas moved slowly. Because the sheer number of gifts prevented us from shaking each gift to determine what the package contained, we waited.

Finally Christmas Eve came. Five of us were committed to serve Midnight Mass. The night became cold with a threat of snow.

Usually our parents left at least one large gift unwrapped. I guess their theory was that gift gave them a few extra minutes of sleep. During these first openings was a time When hahas could be heard from the parlor.

I am sure you have heard the term “conspicuous consumption,” and I am sad to say the reality of how others experienced deprivation was not a thought that entered our heads. My brothers and I had a full week to wait while we thought of the “end game.” We wanted to know what was in each package.

My brothers woke our parents at dawn, and we crowded together in the front room. My parents believed in prolonging our misery: Each brother took his turn in the rotation from the oldest to the youngest. Patience was not in our thinking that day.

When we were done, We began to play with our gifts. The excitement had dissipated. Our many gifts had shriveled to a mound of Christmas wrap.

Later, as we ate our Christmas dinner at the dining room table, we reflected upon our good fortune. Maybe this celebration of our happiness led us to perform our many good works in our futures.

Jack Hansen is a retired Head Master, Elementary Principal, Special Ed Teacher and Librarian, and Viet Nam vet who moved from Maine to Seattle in 1995.

SHARING STORIES is a weekly column for and about the 50 plus crowd living in the Puget Sound region. Send your stories and photos to ariele@comcast.net. Tell local or personal stories; discuss concerns around aging and other issues; share solutions, good luck, and reasons to celebrate; poems are fine too. Pieces may be edited or excerpted. We reserve the right to select among pieces. Photos are always a plus and a one-sentence bio is requested (where you live, maybe age or career, retired status, etc.). SHARING STORIES is featured on www.northwestprimetime.com, the website for Northwest Prime Time, a monthly publication for baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those contemplating retirement. The newspaper can be found in the greater Seattle area and other Puget Sound locations. For more information, call 206-824-8600 or visit www.northwestprimetime.com. To find other SHARING STORIES articles on this website type "sharing stories" in the search function above.

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