Holiday Memories by Phyllis Middleton

Memories are precious. They bring back good and the bad events in one’s life that marks that person’s character. As I pondered what to write for this blog and wanting to keep in the holiday spirit. The only things that remain on my mind were the memories and not just Christmas but Thanksgiving, New Year’s, and even Valentine’s Day. Generally, to me, holidays mean family. I would like to share a very few of my memories.


1970s Thanksgiving day. My mother had prepared the turkey and other family members arrived with side dishes and when all was ready my mom had set an eloquent table, including candles. After grace was said, the food was passed around, and conversations started. To set the scene, you should know my younger brother sported the disco hairstyle of the day, a permed Afro. Back to the event. I still don’t recall the reason he chose to lean over the table, but when he did, his hair came in contact with the candle flame. As you can imagine, an immediate panic set in and my mother grabbed a towel and kept slapping at his head in efforts to put out the fire. Actually, very little of his hair was damaged and after the initial fear subsided. The whole situation got funny and laughter filled the room. Interesting that the aroma of burnt hair replaced the savory smell of the turkey. That was the last time mother put candles on the table.

Day After Christmas, Rockwell 1922

Christmas time with my mother’s family. Every year we’d get together with all the family members and spend a day with my grandparents. My mother’s family have always been musical and performers with my grandparents my mother and two of her sisters playing vaudeville and having their own radio show. My memories of this family Christmas time includeJazz Bandd my grandfather playing the fiddle, my mother and possibly my grandmother playing the guitar. My aunt playing the ukulele, and another aunt playing the autoharp. Country and gospel hymn songs were sung in two and three-part harmony. I did not play an instrument, but I could sing harmony to any level. Occasionally someone would bring a portable piano and a steel guitar and that would add to the instrumental sounds. Sadly, as the family grew older the instruments and voices have disappeared, but the memories stay alive.


New Year’s Eve. For many years as I worked as a deputy sheriff and I was required along with the other deputies to work New Year’s Eve’s. It wasn’t guaranteed time of action. There is nothing like the sound of bullets falling from the sky and landing on your car. We always had those parties in which the partygoers would go outside and at the stroke of midnight they would fire off multiple guns in celebration. As officers, we would do our best to explain that what goes up must come down a.k.a. bullets. But being drunk is they were, they were not seeing reason and usually chose to argue which would escalate to threatening and occasionally culminate in arrests.
And then there were the barroom disturbances in which first aid possibly ambulance and arrests were always the order of things. I do have to note that on one occasion. New Year’s Eve while at a barroom disturbance. I was trying to get the attention of a witness on the dance floor of a club right at the time the countdown rang midnight. Suddenly a man had snatched me up into a full-blown dance. Really? I asked him to let me go, and he replied with “Aren’t you part of the party?” I stepped back so that he could fully see the uniform and responded with “Do I look like it? “Well, at least I got a dance out of it.

I considered going on to Valentine’s Day and tell you about that one. However, I think I will save that for another blog. I do however want to pass on my sincere wishes that you have a beautiful Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s day. I hope you get to spend them with family and friends and make wonderful memories for yourself.



About phyllismiddleton

Bio Phyllis Middleton is a former law enforcement officer who worked as a Deputy Sheriff, a City Police Officer and a Senior Investigator for the Coroner’s Office. During her twenty years of service, her expertise ranged from patrol and investigations to a certified police instructor, a crime scene and death scene investigations specialist. She’s been writing stories since age 13 but didn’t take it seriously until 2005 when she joined Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Dallas Area Romance Authors (DARA). There she learned the craft of writing with the goal of publishing. She teaches online Death and Crime Scene Investigation online classes to writers.
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6 Responses to Holiday Memories by Phyllis Middleton

  1. I’m imagining how terrifying the burning-afro incident must have been for everyone, and the ensuing laughter, pumped up just as big. Yikes! 🙂

  2. Carolyn Thompson says:

    Now I know why Mom didn’t use candles.

  3. Kathy Holland says:

    Love your stories Phyllis. My memory of you will always be “Denise”. Such fun we had in the last hotel bar in Ireland. That group meshed together in spirit. Look at that photo album often.

    • That whole trip was special for me. The people there and in the travel group. I so did NOT want to come back, but alas if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met my husband, so all is good. I’m very glad you stopped by to say HI and remind me of even more memories!

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