Friday, December 3, 2021

Ġēolamonaþ¹

(Source)

Okay, another post with a foreign title, this one is the Anglo-Saxon name for December (and January as well). In Old English it was called "geōla" which apparently means Yule.

Languages, I find them interesting.

But yes, December, what I think of as the Christmas month (being Christian) but it is also the month of Hanukkah. There are other holidays from other cultures and religions in this month but, honestly, I don't really care. Not in my wheelhouse, not in my tradition. It's not that I dislike those holidays, it's just that I don't celebrate them so why fret over them?

When I was a kid (long, long ago) there was, to my knowledge, a single Jewish family in my home town. Well, it was the only Jewish family with a kid in my grade in school. Heck, there may have been others, I just didn't know about them and it isn't critical to my story. (You knew there was a story coming, right?)

Anyhoo, there was a Jewish girl in my class. I don't remember if she got Hanukkah off or not.  I don't think so. We thought it kind of sucked that she had a holiday and had to be in school. Yes, she did get Christmas off. Seemed odd at the time. That was pretty much my introduction to different religions/cultures when I was a kid. No big deal.

Oddly enough I knew a number of people who had big issues with Catholicism. Growing up it seemed that there weren't all that many of them. We had more Russian Orthodox when I was a kid than Catholics. At least that's how I remember it. (I think that these days they don't call themselves "Russian" Orthodox back home, just Orthodox.) Honestly, I had no idea what that meant back in the day. (Yes, I do now.)

I have learned over the years that people are much the same anywhere you go, different customs sure, some of them very bizarre to a generic westerner, but not all that different with regards to dreams and aspirations. Unless you're talking politicians, they all pretty much suck, no matter where you go. (I'm sensing a trend here in my distain for those who seek to hold power over others, because really, that's what it is, IMHO.)

Yes, I have drifted away from my point. Yes, there is a point.

Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year. I have many happy memories as a kid of this holiday. All centered around family. Parents, brothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Colorful lights, Christmas trees, gifts under the tree, Christmas carols, lots of good things to eat, and games, there were always board games.

My brother The Olde Vermonter and I usually got a board game for Christmas, something military-related usually. Something along these lines -

(Source)
Yes, it had little plastic Fokker D-VIIs and SPAD-13s on little stands. Great fun. There were others -
  • Battle Cry, American Civil War (1961)
  • Broadside, War of 1812 naval (1962)
  • Dogfight, World War I aerial (1963)
  • Hit the Beach, World War II amphibious (1965)
  • Skirmish, American Revolution (1975)
We had the first four, the fifth came along when were older and out on our own. (If I had known about it, I would have bought it, I've always been into military board games.)

But as the uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents began to leave on the evening of Christmas Day, The Olde Vermonter and I would load up a couple of plates with Christmas goodies (grapes, crackers, cheese, nuts, various chocolate yummies and the like) and head up to the only room uncluttered with Christmas stuff in the house, my parents' bedroom.

There, on a throw rug at the foot of the bed, we'd play whatever game we got for Christmas that year and often dig out the one (or more) of the ones from previous Christmases. Good times, fondly remembered.

Another thing we did in the weeks leading up to Christmas was go to the Christmas fair at our church. We'd paint Nativity figures, attempt to build wreathes, and eat whatever goodies the church ladies had brought. In the evening we'd go upstairs to the sanctuary and watch our church's Christmas play.

My Mom and another lady always sang What Child is This? (my mother is a wonderful singer). The highlight of the play was when the three kings arrived. A classmate of mine's Dad was always one of those kings, and hearing him sing We Three Kings in his basso profondo voice was awesome. I can hear that to this day.

It was a candlelight service and that's when it felt like Christmas really began. Rather appropriate that it felt to me that Christmas was really here after a church service. I mean that is what the holiday is all about, innit?

The coming of the Lord.

Ah, such happy memories.

No doubt I shall share more of these over the coming days. From when I was a kid, to when my kids were still at home. Christmas should be centered on the Lord, surrounded by family.

It is the Way.



¹ Se mōnaþ is nemned on Leden Decembris, and on ūre geþeōde se ǣrra geōla, forðan ða mōnþas twegen syndon nemde ānum naman, ōðer se ǣrra geōla, óðer se æftera. (Olde English - translation below.)
The month is called in Latin December, and in our language geōla for two months enjoy the same name; the first one Se Ǣrra Geola [The Preceding Yule] and the other Se Æftera [The Following]. (Source)

42 comments:

  1. Ah yes....Battle Cry.......wore that game out myself. And Christmas Eve afternoon service while I was growing up, the smell of all those evergreen wreaths hanging in the cathedral....oh boy....memories Sarge.

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  2. Have you ever noticed that, as they ban Christmas in the UK and elsewhere, they say NOTHING about Hannukah? Or Ramadan as well???

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    1. The secular types are paving their own road to Hell.

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    2. Or that most socialist of a made-up holiday, designed to drive a wedge between people, Kwanzaa?

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    3. just can't understand why the Brits (and the Arabs) would want to ban the birthday celebration of a nice Jewish boy

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    4. boron - Perhaps because they are short-sighted idiots? Just a guess on my part.

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  3. Memories! I had forgotten that I had Broadside, Dogfight, and Battle Cry when I was a kid. Seeing the picture brought back a flood of memories. Many thanks for the reminder. :-)
    - Barry

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    1. Ich auch! I had forgotten those games until now.
      What a great resource American Heritage was. Hardbound "magazines"? I have managed to preserve/accumulate a few, but the many I had (and the board games) long lost in two generations of divorces.
      Thanks for the memories, Sarge; it was a good country to grow up in.
      Boat Guy

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    2. Barry - I am half-tempted to try and re-acquire those games. My brother game across them in his basement some years back and threw them out. He said they had been destroyed by the damp. Heart-broken I was.

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    3. BG - One of the first books I devoured was from American Heritage. Really sparked my love of history.

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    4. I had a huge collection of their magazines, destroyed by the in-laws when they moved one of their sons (the most evil one, no, seriously) into our house without our permission.

      The AH articles about the American Revolution were quite wonderful, well written and well documented. And accompanied by excellent artwork.

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    5. Now that's a tragedy. Agree completely with your last, they were excellent!

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    6. I still have all four of those games along with some other military games like "Afrika Corps,1914,Blitzkrieg,Battle of the Bulge, Luftwaffe. These were from Avalon Hill. I'd be willing to part with them or perhaps some of you guys would like to stop by for a gaming session?

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    7. Is still have all of my old Avalon Hill games (quite a few from SPI as well).

      Really, you'd part with those American Heritage games? Color me, interested. (Shoot me an email at oldafsarge AT gmail DOT com, Seriously.)

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  4. Merry RamaHanaKwanzMas! We didn't go to Christmas Eve services as a kid. Not sure why. We were at church every other time the doors were open. But I remember Bing and the Carpenters on the radio or stereo, and the cartoons on the Zenith TV at night!! Rudolph and Charlie Brown. A Christmas Carole was something we watched more often than not.

    We were really lucky one year when we went to grandpa and grandma's house. Seeing the cousins, feeding coal into the stove, and playing in the hayloft of the barn. Being worried that Santa wouldn't know we weren't home... Watching my uncles play 42.

    My first real Christmas Eve services were after we moved to Comfort (it's just down the road from Welfare in case you were wondering) and attended Boerne Bible Church. Those were good memories of GREAT people, being involved in worship and fellowship at Christmas time.


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    1. Worship and fellowship at church are good at any time of the year, but at Christmas? Unbelievably special!

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  5. Sarge - A bit behind you, but much the same experience. Christmas was a day we spent with our nuclear family and my mother's parents. My sister and I would get up and seek out our stockings (but we could not wake my parents up until 6:30 AM), then call my grandparents as they always came over for present opening. When they arrived, we would have presents and brunch. My sister and I would scuttle off to our rooms with our prizes (and I, like you, would get something I would call my best friend at the time about and plan to use the next day). Dinner was always at my grandparents - some years it was my mother's sister and her brother and his family, sometimes just us. Church was for us was always a "night before" experience.

    You are ultimately right about Our Political And Social Betters (OAPSB). They want nothing more or less than total control over people, their lives, their beliefs, their philosophies, and their traditions.

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    1. As to your last, concur. They have such small minds and full-blown inferiority complexes which compels them to tear down institutions which give the rest of us hope and joy. They are, in a word, pathetic.

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    2. "…full-blown inferiority complexes…" Most insightful and most easily corroborated across the spectrum of politicos and TV hacks.

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  6. They are NOT our "betters". They aspire to that, and think that tearing down others elevates themselves. It does not; it only displays their lack of achievement, formerly concealed in the shadows of our successes. They're not only not better, they are not even losing contenders.

    I knew Christmas was coming when the metal garbage cans for holding the flour, sugar, and dried fruits appeared in the breezeway, two steps fro@ the kitchen. Mom would fill two giant freezers with breads, cakes, cookies, candies ... strangely, not lefsa (we consumed it, she just didn't make it. Both of my grandmothers did. Too late to ask.

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    1. Roger that, not "betters," failures all around, tear down, no "build back better." A pox on their houses!

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    2. Norwegian flat bread? The recipes online don't seem too hard, about as hard as making one's own flour tortillas. Could be an interesting delve into tradition for you and yours.

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    3. It involved making gallons of properly mashed potatoes of particular potatoes, flour, rolling, baking on a griddle, flipping, baking, then panning, cooling, wrapping, and into the fridge, Maybe that was why, lots of freezer space, one huge 'fridge was always full (Mom, Dad, five kids, guests.)

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    4. Beans - I'll have to try that.

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    5. Logistics is hard, especially when it comes to feeding lots of people!

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    6. (Don McCollor)...The trick is to keep the dough cool and keep plenty of flour on the rolling pin and surface or it sticks to everything and tears. The product is soft, thin and flexible (non-Norskies have mistaken it for a napkin). A reasonable approximation is a soft shell tacho or tortilla. The key is to serve warm, covered with about equal amounts of brown sugar and butter, then rolled up...

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    7. (Don McCollor)..And in the old days there was the delicate scent of lutefisk wafting through the house wilting the flowers on the wallpaper...

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  7. Being children of parents who had few to no relatives, and usually nobody close at all, Christmas and other holidays tended to be intimate family events. Grandma Cone and Grandpa Wetzel, when they were alive, would be it. Grandpa Wetzel passed in 71 or 72 when we were at Kwaj, and Grandma Cone passed in 2000. Weird thinking that my dad passed in 1994.

    Getting old... Memories...

    Well, I always enjoyed helping my mother make Christmas breads, as it was my job to grind up walnuts for poteca (a sweet rolled bread filled with ground walnuts, sugar, butter and lemon zest) and I helped grease the pans for Yule Kage (a fancy fruitcake) and ate a lot of the raisins for the Swedish tea ring (a fancy presentation of cinnamon rolls.)

    As to board games, we didn't have a lot of those, but then again we always lived someplace where you could play outside pretty much until dinner time, and then we were exhausted afterwards. I think board games were more popular up north where one gets trapped inside by the weather.

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    1. Love Swedish tea rings!

      So, did you play outside in the rain as well? I've known a number of southern folks who enjoyed a good board game. Can't be outside all the time, freaking skeeters will eat you up!

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    2. Yes, yes I did play in the rain. Can't splash puddles unless you're out in them. Or at the beach, or running around in the woods, or, well, pretty much not in the house until dinner. And mosquitos weren't a problem at Kwaj, at Vandenburg, or at Satellite Beach.

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  8. No relatives anywhere for me (neither East, North, South and of course West). Ya had to go all the way to Corsicana Texas to find a relating Wilson. Christmas was my dad's business party, special food from my mom, a door stop of a fruitcake (home-made and good!) from Aunts Nora and Grace and then, finally, Christmas Eve Candlelight service at the local Congregational church. I am surprised that they could find the church, we never went there at any other time. I've often thought that that's what happens when a Baptist marries a Methodist. I wasn't a Christian (twenty years later for that to happen). Seeds were being planted for later harvest. Thanks Mom and Pop!

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  9. I definitely embrace the spiritual part of Christmas more in my growing age, and really don't care at all for the commercialism.

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  10. The board game D-Day, that was a complicated game. A lot of time setting it up and reading the instructions. Learning to read the various game tables and such. Still wish I had that game. Do not know where it went over the years.
    Merry Christmass to all out there.

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    1. One of the few I never played. Odd that.

      Merry Christmas!

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