December 11th, 2010: Gabby Panacek – Cont’d

This is the start of Christmas for me, my aunt’s Christmas tree,  Though you can’t tell from this picture, the entire front of the fireplace is loaded with gifts for my aunts, my cousins and their children. We’ve been having our Christmas Brunch on the second Saturday in December for the last decade, and it is the holiday tradition I most look forward to.

Twelve years ago, my grandfather, my father’s father, passed away after a long and arduous struggle with emphysema. My grandmother followed him two years later. They were the glue that held our family together. Ever holiday, whether major or minor, was a reason to gather at Gran and Pa’s, eat, drink, laugh, play and just enjoy each others company. Our last Christmas with everyone in attendance, there were 42 two of us, all crammed into my grandparent’s tiny house…aunts and uncles, cousins, their spouses and children, boyfriends, girlfriends, and a few friends who had no other place to celebrate Christmas.

When Gran passed away, my cousin Christine was worried we would all drift apart, as so many families do, and suggested that we have a Girls Day every month. So, for the last ten years we have done just that. But, Christmas is special. We always have a potluck brunch at my aunt’s house, exchange small gifts with each other and share memories of Christmases past. It is the most wonderful way to begin the Christmas season, surrounded with family, joy, love and the knowledge that no matter what else is going on in our lives, these are the people who will always welcome us with open arms and hearts.

The dishes have been cleared, the wrapping paper picked up and I’m sitting with a cup of coffee looking through the pictures I took this morning and I can’t help but smile.  In a few minutes, I’ll log in to say hello to my second family, my online friends who never fail to brighten my day.

Days like today remind me how blessed I am to have all of these people in my first and second lives. It truly is a wonder.

Happy Holidays.


Gabby Panacek is still a thirty-something from Southern Illinois who frequently loses her camera and must resort to taking crappy photos with her cell phone. She now lives with two adopted Kitties, Mara and Daisy, who shed continuously and refuse to cuddle on command. She blogs at haphazard intervals and is a serial snapshot taker. You will most often find her standing in a big green box high above Rouge pretending to sort her obnoxiously large inventory while trying to figure out when she became such a hoarder. She still has an amazing partner who keeps her grounded and a fantastic circle of friends who think she can do no wrong (they are an easily fooled, but lovable lot). Gabby is still learning to use her inside voice and remember that her treadmill is not the enemy. She is now counting the number of days she can put off cleaning her house before hosting the January Girls Day.

Gabby’s previous post was on March 16th, 2010.


2 Responses to “December 11th, 2010: Gabby Panacek – Cont’d”

  1. Sophia Harlow Says:

    <3 and that is all.

  2. Starfire Silverstar Says:

    WOW!!! That’s awesome!!!
    I wanna come to Christmas with you!!
    (cozy) (girlkiss)
    / / /
    <3 <3 <3

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