Holiday Memories

The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. was completed on this day in 1884.

“There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!”

American actor, Wally Cox, was born on this day in 1924 (died 1973).


For years, I only knew Wally Cox as the voice of Underdog.

I don’t know if Underdog ever flew around The Washington Monument.

It’s Wednesday and the memory of Underdog takes me back to holiday memories from my childhood.

Truth is, I seem to associate Underdog more with Thanksgiving. Perhaps that’s because of the years that his balloon flew in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Something in me also wants to associate Underdog with a Halloween costume, but I can’t confirm that.

Christmas is coming and there are memories of sitting for hours with the Sears Wishbook, making lists of everything I wanted. Then revising that list and putting it in order.

I knew I would never get everything on my list. But my parents tried.

There are other memories. Programs at church and collecting coins for the “Christ’s Birthday Offering.” We’d get little cardboard banks to collect money over the weeks leading up to Christmas. Then on the last Sunday before Christmas Day, we’d all bring them to church. I think the money went to missions.

Among the warmest of memories is gathering with the family on Christmas Eve. My dad’s brothers and sisters would gather at the “home place” each Christmas Eve. The oldest sister lived there and cared for my grandfather.

Memories or fuzzy. But somewhere around here is a short story I wrote about that in my high school Creative Writing class.

See? I’ve been writing that long. That was back when we were all still writing in black and white.

I didn’t know the thoughts of Underdog would stir those memories.

My memories also tell me that Christmas used to take a lot longer to get here than it does now. We would never have considered Christmas before Thanksgiving, or Heaven forbid, before Halloween like the stores do.

No, the tree usually went up about a week ahead of time and came down well before New Year’s Day or on that day at the latest. Granted it was a live tree and those old Christmas lights got hot, so we couldn’t keep it too long.

I’ve just gone off on another tangent, haven’t I?

We’ve tried to keep some Christmas traditions in our own family. That includes reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke (look it up, it will do you good) on Christmas Eve. And there’s the opening of one gift…usually pajamas.

Maybe forty or fifty years from now my boys will remember those times fondly even if these days there’s a lot of “let’s get this over with.”

Sadly, they probably won’t remember Underdog. But that’s okay.

What I hope they most remember is the reason that we celebrate, even when it tends to get out of hand.

The journey to Bethlehem continues.


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