This Christmas season I thought a lot about the ways I could use my writing as a gift to others. Could I give a book I have written as a gift? That was a possibility. Could I get busy on my project of family history? I’ve been busy working on it, but it would never be finished in time for Christmas. Then the thought came. I wanted to “Sing to the Lord a new song.” (Psalm 98: 1)
I bought three journals, one for myself and one each for two cousins who had shared every summer with me at my grandparents’ beach house until all three of us were grown. I wrapped them in shiny paper with curly ribbon and handed them over when we met for lunch this week.
They looked at me , eyebrows raised, for they know me well, and they were sure I had something up my sleeve. “I’m not the only writer in this family,” I told them. “And I’m not the only one with memories.” Then I explained what I hoped we would do in the coming year.
Each of us would write a journal of Beach House Memories, reaching back to our young days for the things we had in common and the things we held secretly, close to our hearts. At the end of the year, we would get together and spend a glorious day remembering — and comparing. Then we would put all these precious recollections in a book for our children and grandchildren — a total of 30 people who would receive a gift of love — a gift that would capture the essence of sea breezes and white sand, our grandmother’s good cooking, learning to fish leaning over the side of the pier, riding the merry-go-round and reaching for the golden ring, hearing the old, old stories told by great aunts and uncles who came to visit for the day and ended up sitting on the porch long past twilight.
Tomorrow is the first day of a new year, and my cousins and I will be singing a new song, for this is something we have never done before. Because it is a song of love, we know that God blesses our efforts — which makes it all worthwhile.
Contributed by Marilyn Donahue