Christmas Day 2002
My first Christmas was back in 1951. Try as I might, I can’t remember much about it, partly because that was 60 years ago, and partly because I was just a week old! That Christmas was one of the last Christmas’s where the whole family met at the home of my great Grandma Daniels, on Reservoir Hill. My Great Grandma, Meda Eliza Camp Daniels had been born, not far from Placerville, just off Mosquito road, back in 1869. Her mom and dad had arrived in Placerville back in the 1850s, an entire century before I arrived on the scene. They were pretty well established in the community. Great Grandpa Daniels had been a well respected Justice of The Peace in Placerville. His ancestors had arrived in Massachusetts Bay, back in Colonial times, and had served during the Revolutionary War. I’ve always been mighty proud of my American heritage. The Christmas Day festivities of 1951 were well attended. On hand for the occasion were my parents, my mom’s parents, my great grandma Daniels, her brother Albert, my great grandma’s children, and their families, aunts and uncles galore, and cousins by the dozens! It was the kind of Christmas you read about in books, a Christmas day of Biblical proportions! It was happy, festive, traditional and unsurpassed! You’d be hard pressed to replicate it today. Of course, we can’t. With very few exceptions, those precious souls have long ago crossed the veil. To me, it’s noteworthy that I have the distinction of being a link between my faded memories of those long passed souls, and generations of their descendants they’ve never met. I sure wish that wasn’t the case. Great Grandma would be mighty proud, and my Granddad Daniels would surely bust his buttons! I have absolutely no doubt that my son would take to granddad, like a little pig takes to the mud! And my daughter would be the apple of everyone’s eye! What I wouldn’t give to be there for that! Well, it’s Christmas time again, and I can’t help but hope that one day all those precious souls will meet. That is, after all, what Christmas is all about: an incomparable reunion of the faithful and the Blessed! What a day of rejoicing that will be!
S. T. Casebeer