Counting the Cuckoos

One of my favorite memories is waiting for the time that my brothers and I could go downstairs on Christmas. Because my mother worked as a nurse, she often didn't get home until the wee hours of the morning and sometimes still needed to wrap some presents. So, we were not allowed to come downstairs until at least six o'clock.

We had a little cuckoo clock, the kind with carved birds and oak leaves on the top and heavy pine cones as weights. I remember waking early and hearing it "Cuckoo" once. That was no help, because it might be a half hour "cuckoo". I'd have to wait another half hour. Hopefully, it wasn't one o'clock. Then I'd never be able to sleep!

Here it comes!

"Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo."

Oh,no... only five o'clock. I'd have to wait another whole hour.

When I heard the "cuckoo" for five thirty, I also heard my brothers stirring. We decided to sit on the stairs and finish waiting there. We could see the tree and the presents if we peeked around the corner. The tree lights had been left on all night and there were piles of packages beneath the branches. We tried to guess who's was who's from where we sat.

Our stockings, some of my father's bootsocks, were hanging near the fireplace. (In that house, the fireplace was built in the 1700's and even had an iron crane for hanging pots.) Our stockings were bulging with lumpy shapes and a banana sticking from the top. There would be nuts and candies and a few toys to keep us busy while my parents slept a little longer.

"Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo!"

We tumbled down the last few steps and scampered into the kitchen to retrieve our stockings. Then taking them with us into the living room, we "oohed and ahed" over the presents, guessing and poking at the ones with our name. Dumping the contents our stockings on the floor, we giggled and played while waiting for Daddy and Mama to wake up. I'm sure (now that I've had kids of my own) that they weren't really asleep, just listening to us, while they enjoyed a few more minutes of rest.

1 comment:

Josh said...

What an awesome Christmas memory! I would have loved to see that old fireplace from the 1700's. I'm amazed that you kids were so obedient to wait. I would have been ripping through those gifts and having my parents angry at me. LOL.


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