Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nostalgia & Noel

My friend Greg wrote to me last night in praise of the 80's, when we were teenagers and wild kids, and the whole thing has made me feel very nostalgic for my youth, not only because it's fun to be 15 and listening to "Tainted Love" at full blast while lounging on an inner tube on the lake -- but also because holidays were just plain better when I was a kid.

I was thinking about this the other night while having a truly bad holiday shopping excursion. Things were not going well. I threw in the towel and headed for the mall (again) and the food court (again again) -- just to get some respite from the ineffectiveness of it all. As we were headed for the parking garage (which didn't exist in the 80's), I suddenly remembered a shopping excursion from my sophomore year when things weren't going well, and Mama threw in the towel and took us to Swenson's.

Remember Swenson's? Does anyone remember? Am I the only person? For about half a year, Swenson's ice cream parlor was the hottest restaurant in West Knoxville. If you went there on a Saturday, you could wait for two hours to get a table. And -- the worst part -- you'd be standing there watching other people eat. Swenson's had enormous, elaborate sundaes. The only thing that kept us from attacking the diners was the idea that after they finished, we would be able to sit down and have some food and an enormous sundae of our own.

So on Monday night when things were going badly and I was headed for a mall food court, I suddenly had this outrageous craving for a Swenson's tuna melt and some kind of giant sundae. I also wished Mama were here -- I miss her still so much -- because she was fun. She was fun!

But best of all, she was the mama, and I didn't have to worry about anything.

Mama took care of everything, all of it, and as long as she was the mama, Christmas was great and gorgeous and stress-free and perfect, and all of it had a giant cookies-and-cream sundae with whipped cream on top and an a cappella chorale Christmas album playing in the background.

A couple of hours after this fit of nostalgia, I was sitting in the food court with my little family. We didn't have any sundae remnants, but we were giggling madly as we fought over the last french fries and Emily was trying to steal my Petro's orange iced tea -- even though she had her own orange iced tea -- and humming along to the Christmas music playing in there --

And I realized, yep, I'm the mama now. I may not have everything as under control as my mother did, but maybe in twenty years, maybe one of my children will wish that they could just be a teenager again and let me take care of everything.

If I'm lucky.

(Extra-easy Christmas card by me, using the incomparably gorgeous Club Scrap Ivory Elegance kit and an older Club Scrap special release unmounted holiday greeting, Ranger Black Perfect Medium, and Ranger Perfect Pearl in Sunflower Sparkle -- it looks the most like gold leaf.)


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