Walt's Look Around: Christmas decorations - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Christmas decorations

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They are the kind of decorations you may have tried to make at one time or another. The kind accented by little shinny reflective dots with a pin pushed through them into a satin-covered Styrofoam ball. Someone with a lot of patience made these. And then gave them away to Frances Jackson. And Frances remembers them well.

Frances Jackson: Grandmother Nolan started those in 1953 when I marred Jack Nolan. When the first baby was born she started sending these ball to us and she was I'd say late 60s. But she made them until she died.

Walt: The pathway into the season we are ALL entering is paved with stacks and stacks of memories. Christmases past. The smell of a fresh cut evergreen instantly takes us back to our childhood living rooms and decorating the family tree in those carefree days of youth. That's what a tree like Frances's does. It's a time machine back to the good old days.

If we could only realize that after we survive THESE urgent times we are living today, they TOO will become the good old days. And the greatest practical gift we could get is the ability to LIVE the present with the same attitude with which we will recall these times years from now.

Frances has an added element of urgency in her remembering and wanting to share her memories with friends and the generations of her family who don't know about those days back then, because Frances is beginning to exhibit the onset symptoms of Alzheimer's. And she, more than many, realizes what a precious gift memories are.

Frances: Because I remember the past more than I am remembering the present and the recent history.

Walt: And memories of special things like homemade ornaments given away by a thoughtful member of the family way back then are for her keys to interpreting the present and the hope of giving meaning to an uncertain future.

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