Your granddaughter wanted to bake pies for Thanksgiving. She’s become a beauty. You would be so proud of her. She came for the day and we made three pies. Cherry, oatmeal, and of course, Pumpkin. Oatmeal pie was one of your favorites. It’s her favorite now too, and she asks for it every time we get together as a family. So does your youngest daughter. Who would have guessed that the “left-over-pie-crust-pie” would become the family’s chosen.
You loved a good pie. I miss your whispered compliments and kiss on my cheek after you devoured the first piece.
I wasn’t really ready to decorate for Christmas, but she wanted to pull out my tree while the pies baked. This was the first time the two of us had decorated the tree by ourselves. It was fun. She admired and was curious about every ornament. I told her about the cactus Christmas tree — San Antonio. The sand snowman — Cabo San Lucas. The glass ornament moose — Gatlinburg. The Precious Moment globe — our first Christmas together. There were about a dozen more… We laughed a lot. And cried a bit. It was a good day. None of us run from the tears anymore. They just come and go. And come again.
I made your favorite cookies this week. You know, those frozen ones, that for some reason, have become “Christmas” cookies. Oatmeal Crispies. The ones your gramma use to make. You always told the grandkids “you won’t like them” because you wanted them all to yourself. Somehow they have become a family favorite now. Everyone wants the Oatmeal Crispies. It makes us sad and happy to see them on the Christmas cookie plate. We talk about you every time we eat them.
I shopped for your grandsons this week. The two oldest! Those boys! Young men, actually. They are both taller than me now. One is probably taller than you. Yes, you. I can just imagine the conversations the two of you would be having about that. One of you would be amused. The other not so much.
I actually went to a brick-and-mortar store because my usual online shopping for these tweens wasn’t panning out. My first stop was a new store, a sports fan store. Oh, this store. It would be so easy to buy your Christmas gifts there. You were always so hard to buy for. “I don’t need anything.” For the first 15 minutes, as I was walking the aisles, I kept picking out gifts you’d like. I got choked up and had to wipe away some tears. You would love this store. I came here to shop for your oldest grandson… he’s so much like you. He has become a sports fan and he watches all your team’s basketball games. You would love that. I can see the two of you watching a game and yelling at the TV together. I bought him the same gifts I picked out for you. He’ll love them too.
I shopped for the other grandson at the mall. I haven’t been to the mall in years, but this young man isn’t fully into the sports teams yet, and I also wanted his gifts to be different than his big brother. So to Macys I went in search of “Levi” attire. The music. The sounds. The smells. The ambiance of the store ambushed me. So many Christmas shopping hours spent in that men’s department. You were in every aisle. The shirts. The socks. The sweats. I wasn’t expecting to see you there. I cried a little. But it was good to think of you while I shopped for him.
Our third Christmas without you. You are so missed. Yet you are still here. Everywhere. In the house. In your grandkids. Even in the Christmas decor. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about the void you left. It’s tangible and vacant at the same time. You were a good man, Charlie Brown. I know I told you that often… not sure why I called you Charlie Brown. That famous line just fit. Makes me laugh now. But yes, such a good man.
We love you. Merry Christmas Charlie Brown.