This fabulous and vibrant lady is my Aunt Kay ~ the hostess-with-the-mostess, to say the least. I have often wondered if the Hogan girl’s invented the “party”. Although a Christmas dinner at Aunt Kay and Uncle Buss’ home was an anticipated event, I was blessed with seeing her nearly daily at my Gram’s house. Gram, Aunt Kay, and my Aunt Judy would sit around the kitchen table and visit for hours. They talked of childhood memories, parenting memories, and their hopes for the future. I looked forward to the day Heidi and I would be retired and gathering daily to remember all the good times and the stories of our children…this day did not come. Thankfully, I have many great friends and a big family so I’m never at a loss for company.
The aroma of the traditional Christmas dinner and Aunt Kay’s spaghetti greeted everyone as we climbed the steep cement steps to their main door. Laughter spilled from every cracked window and the lights were so bright, Niagara Mohawk probably sent her a Christmas card in thanks. A short hallway and then we entered one of the most joyous and celebrated family events. The first room to walk through was the kitchen with my great-aunts gathered in deep conversation (and sometimes “discussion”) yet they always stopped to wish a Merry Christmas to whoever might be crossing the threshold. Hospitality is genetic and vital to the survival of family, and community.
This is a photograph of my Aunt Ellen and my Gram sharing in another Christmas tradition, bring a gift, and get a gift. It was great. Of course the gifts were not nearly as much fun as the coloring sheets, crosswords, and assorted activities Aunt Ellen arrived with. (Now as a teacher I realize she had cleaned out her classroom before leaving to enjoy Christmas break, lol) Regardless of the gift within the wrapping paper, it was the thought that counted.
Although Christmas dinner was served on her good china, this was not the best part about her using the china. She let the kids use it too!! You heard me. Aunt Kay believed everyone – young and old, should celebrate with the best she had to offer. Those that arrived late earned the privilege of paper products or washing their own dish to use a real plate. I’m glad we were always one of the first ones there. My cousin Mark blessed me with these precious, love-filled, and beautiful plates after Aunt Kay and Uncle Buss both passed away.
Once again, my Gram Mary. Gram was ALWAYS quoting nifty sayings and statements. We would kid her about “writing them all down” so we didn’t forget. Her response, “I don’t need to write them down, you need to remember them.” The more I read my Bible, the more I realize Gram was quoting Scripture at me daily! Sneaky, creative, and God loving woman that she was knew if we read our Bibles we would realize her words weren’t all that new but instead quoted from the Greatest Author of all times, God. I’m thankful for my Gram, for the seeds of faith, love, and family she instilled in me and all those around her. She lived out God’s Word without preaching it or hitting someone on the head, even I deserved it sometimes. I can’t wait to hug her in heaven one day. (That is if she can stop celebrating with her beloved siblings long enough, lol)
Christmas is about family, celebrating the birth of Jesus, and taking time to reflect and remember all we have to be thankful for. God gave His One and Only Son for you and me. The least we can give is our time. This time might be spent delivering food to shut-ins, helping a friend in need, serving at the soup kitchen, preparing dinner for your family, or it might be spent sitting alongside your family for the Christmas Eve service and again on Christmas morning. Remember, there wouldn’t be gifts under the tree if Jesus wasn’t born – the least we can do is celebrate with the spunk and energy of the Hogan clan this Christmas season – sharing Jesus’ love for each of us with everyone we meet.
Do you have a favorite family tradition or place to go for Christmas Dinner? Have you ever enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs as your feast? Feel free to share a memory below.
Today’s blog is dedicated to Heidi and Shawnacy – who both lost their lives tragically within a year of each other. They are forev in our thoughts and prayers – I pray to see them one day in heaven. (The photo of them was taken at Aunt Kay and Uncle Buss' one Christmas in the late 80's)
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323