Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oh, Nuts

Dad retrieved the nutcracker and picks from the drawer. The familiar crack would sound. It was official. Christmas season was here.

One of my first memories of the holidays is the basket full of nuts that showed up every winter. Some years Dad would gather walnuts nuts to add to the mix. We all had our favorites. I loved the walnuts and had not yet learned that I would favor pecans at a later time. As a little child, I would pick out the different nuts studying their shells. Dad would crack them giving me a taste. I don't think a peanut ever crossed the edge of that basket. Evidently, they didn't have enough class.

It was Thanksgiving, "Mom, can you bring over the nut cracker?" my son asked. Of course, I would say 'yes' even though it meant that my basket of nuts would have no nutcracker. I apologized to the walnuts and took the utensil to my son. He remembered. He remembered another time.

Somewhere in my busy brain, I seem to remember my Grandad Loxley having a nut basket (for lack of a better term). Mostly, I remember the ripe olives that I would sneak reaching up over the side of the table. Again, another must at Christmas.

I wonder where these traditions began. Were the nuts a carryover from old England, pioneer days? Are they a symbol of another time when the fruit of the trees was a prized treat? I don't think the Johnson's ever had nut baskets; however, I do think Uncle Keith Loxley had one as well. Perhaps it was just a part of a family winter ritual.

I smile that my son has a basket of walnuts in his new condo with his soon to be bride. Perhaps he, too, is the family storyteller. Whatever it is, he now has the nutcracker.....I'm using a hammer.

No comments: