Georgia Magazine - December 2011 - (Page 27)

A Christmas to remember BY MADELINE STAPLES AUSTIN It’s My View A collection of readers’ favorite ‘Viewpoint’ columns from GEORGIA Magazine More than 100 of Paul Wood’s top “Viewpoint” columns in a 6-by-9-inch hardcover book of 200-plus pages! C hristmas was the most special time of the year as I grew up. My two brothers and I would be so excited we could hardly wait! Each Christmas morning was full of expectancy, surprises, and a happy spirit prevailed. But once we grow up, sometimes that childhood wonder does too. Still all Christmases remained astonishing and blessed. My children grew up and married, bringing into the family lovely, cherished grandchildren! It would be hard to describe, much less discriminate between all the glorious Christmas times when “Santa” had come and left just the right gifts under the Christmas tree. Then, something changed. My beloved mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1985. She was still able to be home yet awhile. I had longed to have my parents share a Christmas with my family in Georgia. Through the years, Mom had prepared for Christmas at her own home in Charlottesville, Va., for other family members. But with the disease coming upon her, Mom seemed more willing to be the visitor than the preparer. She and my father, called “Poppa” by the grandchildren, agreed to spend a Christmas with us in Rome in 1988. Many preparations were made. Cooking those “only-at-Christmas” Albert (“Poppa”), left, and Elizabeth Staples shared a last Christmas in Georgia with the Austin family, including great-grandson Austin Elstad. December 2011 recipes, setting out each decoration and wrapping gifts kept us busy. For we were going to enjoy Christmas together after many, many years! All the children and grandchildren were here to experience this special time. The magic we felt was palpable. We all detected it; so obvious was their joy at being in our home for their first Christmas in Georgia! It was as if my mother were a child again, amazed by the lovely tree, adorned with many of her heirloom ornaments. Each gift was opened with a feeling of special gratitude. Their joy made ours complete. We were a whole family, together for Christmas for the first time since I grew up. Time was forgotten as the day stretched into evening. We enjoyed a special breakfast with Grandmother’s delicious coffee cake and country ham. Dinner was served with turkey and all the trimmings; fruitcake, real coconut cake and fudge! As with all good times, the end must come. Mom and Poppa returned to their home, the children and grandchildren to their routines. For some time after that holiday of 1988, the house seemed quieter, the festivity gone. But we were to remember it always as the best Christmas ever. Five months later, Mom had to leave my father and her home to become a patient in a nursing home. There, she lived out her life, lost to us as “Mom,” grandmother and greatgrandmother. But the Christmas she gave us, with the love of my dad, will always be the most memorable. Madeline Staples Austin lives in Rome with husband Jim, and enjoys creating new Christmas memories for her children, grandchildren and new great-granddaughter. If you have a meaningful Georgia experience to share, see page 6 for submission information. More online at It’s My View A collection of readers’ favorite ‘Viewpoint’ columns from GEORGIA Magazi ne President/CEO, Georgia Electric By Paul Wood Membership Corp. Makes a great holiday gift! Copies available for $19.98, including shipping. Mail your check for $19.98 per copy to: GEORGIA Magazine/Viewpoint, P Box 1707, .O. Tucker, GA 30085, or go online to www. to place your order and be billed. Order your copy now! Great holiday gift! Does your community, civic or charity group have a cookbook for sale? If so, send us a copy for possible review in GEORGIA Magazine. Include a brief description of what your organization does, along with a contact person’s name, address, e-mail address and phone number, to: Cookbook Review GEORGIA Magazine P Box 1707, Tucker, GA 30085-1707 .O. 27

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - December 2011

Georgia Magazine - December 2011
Georgia News
Picture This?
Calendar of Events
Magical Nights, Holiday Lights
Between the Covers
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Georgia Cooks

Georgia Magazine - December 2011