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New home, new memories

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By Robert Villanueva

By ROBERT VILLANUEVA 

rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com

I recently become an Elizabethtown resident. In fact, I’ve lived here less than two months. Before then I lived in Radcliff,. All totaled, I’ve lived in and around Hardin County for about 45 years, and that’s a good number of Thanksgivings and Christmases. During the holiday season — with the impending New Year — I guess it’s natural to look back at the past year and review it. It puts some sort of perspective on it, but I’ve yet to understand how to put that perspective into perspective. Why look back? Maybe it helps remind me where I’ve been and gives me more focus on where I plan to go, in the figurative sense. Maybe it’s just an excuse to be nostalgic. Of course, when I start looking back, I tend to look way back. And I can’t help but think about the holidays at various points in my life. It’s funny that I don’t remember specifics about many early Thanksgivings. I do remember my older brothers arguing over who got a drumstick. And I don’t really remember specifics about my earliest Christmases at Fort Knox and later Muldraugh, when I was between the ages of 3 and 10. What I remember are generalities, like the large colored light bulbs used on the Christmas tree and the old ornaments, collected over years, decorating the branches. Around Christmas, when we lived in Fort Knox, Dad and Mom would treat us to a visit to Sadowski Field House, where each child received a stocking filled with fruits, nuts and candy. That, of course, was in addition to a music program and an appearance by Santa himself. I remember not wanting to finish all the treats in the stocking. That meant an end of some sort. The thing I remember most about my earliest Christmases at Fort Knox were the toys. Surprise. Perhaps my favorite toy was a set of hollow thin plastic solidiers. There were the red troops and the blue ones, and each side had a hollow cannon with a yellow plastic cork at the end of the barrel. By pounding a fist down onto the cannon you could propel the cork to knock down members of the opposing team. Hmm. Not necessarily the most PC of toys, but then this was long before political correctness arrived. And it was still one of my favorite toys. I also remember Dad and Mom taking us Christmas shopping, where the ride back — through the various neighborhoods on post to see the decorations and lights — was as much an event as the shopping itself. As I got older I remember how we kept the same Christmas tree, lights and ornaments for years. Now I think about all that when I think about Christmas. And I think about recent Thanksgivings and Christmases as an adult. So what does this have to do with moving to Elizabethtown? For some time, I’ve wanted to live in an older house.Okay, an old house. Somehow, the character and feel of a house built in, say, the late 1800s has always appealed to me. There’s something about the woodwork and detail in those houses that are inviting. The house I’m now living in here in Elizabethtown was built in 1910 and still has vestiges of a bygone era. A transom over the front door as well as a working hand-turn doorbell add to the charm of the home. And it has become a home for Rebecca and me. Because we’re still in the process of moving and buying furniture, our Thanksgiving was celebrated using seating consisting of two folding director’s chairs and a makeshift table of boxes and containers covered with a plastic holiday tablecloth. It was one of my favorite Thanksgivings. And it makes me realize it’s not the things that make the holidays so special. It’s the people and the memories of being happy. So however I spend Christmas in my new home, I know I’ll be looking back at these times in the future. Because what I have or don’t have doesn’t matter as much as who I share my holidays with and the fact that I still have those people in my lives. Here’s to creating more memories. Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743.