Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, Day 17 - A Christmas Past

A very memorable Christmas was in 1970, at least for my almost ten-year-old son.  but first you need the background to the story.

I grew up in the shadow of the University of Arkansas, as had my Mom and her brothers.  My family members were born and bred Razorback Hogs, particularly the football team.  My parents funded a smallish scholarship, beginning about 1950 or so, which entitled them to 50-yard-line seats and one of my nephews is still using those tickets to every Razorback home football game.  Legacy! 

I was present for single every home game [and some of the away games] of the football Razorbacks from the year I turned twelve until I had my third child - she had the audacity to be born on a Wednesday and there was a game the following Saturday, that I was not quite up for.  My children could all "call the hogs" before they could say "Mama."  Even as infants, they had tiny red T-shirts, declaring their allegiance.  Of course none of them would attend the U of A! 

After we moved away from the Arkansas family nest, our interest in the Razorbacks lessened and my children did all attend different universities further dividing loyalties.  My sisters and their families, still living near the U of A, still live and breathe the Hogs.

Now to the Christmas of 1970.  The Razorbacks had had three great seasons back to back and were riding high under Coach Frank Broyles.  My Dad had become friends with Coach Broyles and my much younger sister, then a teen, was giving some of Coach Broyles' children horseback riding lessons.  My oldest son, as I said, was almost ten.  He was the first-born grandchild and my Dad had no sons, so they had a very special relationship and spent a lot of one-on-one time together.

Dad gave Steve a football - autographed by all the members of the Razorback football squad!  Even little sister looks suitably awed!  [How do you like the clothes - the striped pants, the crocheted vest - so very early 70's!]

The football sat proudly on a bookshelf in his room until after he left for college.  One day when he was packing up some of his possessions, he brought the football to show me that the inked names had all almost completed faded away.  None of us had ever thought about the effects of light and time.

The Polaroid picture is also fading with time.  But the pure delight of opening that box has not faded.

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