Christmastime at Granny's was always interesting, to say the least. Several dozen people somehow managed to cram into her small house one evening a year to catch up, enjoy some great food and retell old stories. I fondly recall Granny's homemade German chocolate and coconut cakes, and some of the extended family probably made it a point to come just for her fried apple "pies" (which were actually turnovers, but everyone called them pies). Boy, were they good!
Always resourceful and generous, Granny was a great steward of all that she had. And you never visited her without leaving with jars of homemade jellies and relishes or something freshly prepared from the kitchen. As for Christmas gifts, she insisted on buying something for everyone, and would hear nothing of being told that she shouldn't have. Of course, Granny was a very practical woman. The smallest of kids received toys, but once you reached a certain age, you could bet that Granny would give you socks or . . . ahem . . . underwear.
When Granny first started giving me socks and underwear, I have to admit I was a bit embarrassed until I realized my nephew and cousins were getting the same thing. However, I remember a particularly funny Christmas when two of my second cousins had finally reached the point when they would receive toys from Granny no more. As Granny opened cards stuffed with cash and checks, my second cousin, Amanda, began to unwrap her gift. Suddenly, her brother, Josh, laughed and yelled for all to hear, "Panties, Panties!" Some of the adults snickered. Others pretended not to hear. But moments later, Uncle Frank, who has a very loud voice, began to laugh hysterically. I turned to see what was so funny only to find that Josh's laughter had been silenced by a three-pack of Fruit of the Loom briefs, courtesy of Granny!