Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Memories

As Christmas approaches, I can't help but reflect on times gone by and those happy memories associated with other Christmases and my childhood.

I think about the time my dad and I forged through what seemed like miles of forest, over waist high blackberry briers, sticky beggar lice and the bitter cold to find the one perfect Christmas tree. Meanwhile, Mom would be going through boxes of ornaments polishing and dusting them until she thought they were presentable. Some of these "treasures" made by my sisters and I that had seen better days but Mom had more sentiment than practicality when it came to such things. She was always eager to see what prise tree Pop and I would bring home. What a happy soul she was.

My dad would often share his memories of his childhood as we trudged over field and stream looking for a tree. He told me how they used real candles on their tree when he was a kid. His father would stand close by with a bucket of water in case the tree caught on fore. And he told me about his love for his brother, John, whom he adored.
I took Pop's memories of his brother and wrote the almost true story of John in my book THE VIOLIN to be released very soon from Amira Press. In THE VIOLIN I created the character of John Douglas who, like my dad's brother, died when he was 21 years old by drowning while fly fishing with his friends.

I could see the sadness in Pop's eyes when he spoke of his brother's death. I decided to give John the life he never got a chance to live and the love he never had. And as I wrote the story of THE VIOLIN, I relived the memories of my dad and the wonderful life he gave to me.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope you are making some memories right now that you, and perhaps your children, will cherish always.
Sarah McNeal

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