A Child’s Christmas in Westwood

Sunny days
Riding my bike around San Fernando Valley
Passing palm trees and orange groves
Traversing vacant lots and ranchettes.

Christmas began when Santa floated down Hollywood Boulevard
Escorted by Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy
USC pom-pom girls
Bob Hope in a red convertible.

Christmas songs
Christmas tree lots
Bell-ringing Santas
No snow.

Christmas culminated with Grandma’s feast:
Days of shopping
Hours of baking
Tedious preparations.

Mother drove our Chrysler sedan
Over Laurel Canyon Boulevard
To the great house on Kelton Avenue
While Bill got car sick.

Lilly Izenour didn’t drive
We chauffeured her around Westwood Village
the A&P, Ralph’s, Desmond’s,
and the Fox theatre for a Disney film.

Grandpa reclined in a red leather chair
Wearing his holiday vest and slippers
Sipping bourbon
Listening to the radio.

On Christmas morning
Well scrubbed and dressed
We attended the Westwood Methodist Church
Where Grandpa was an elder.

Harry and Lorene, Betty Jane and Tommy arrived
With Terri, Jan, Jill, Nancy, and Claudia
We opened presents
Under the giant tree.

The women cooked
The men drank
The grandchildren played
The house filled with aroma.

In the eye of the Christmas storm
Sat the reliable O’Keefe and Merritt
Two ovens and two broilers
Space for one turkey, a casserole, and three pies.

At four o’clock
Fifteen sat down at the long table
Grandpa said a desultory grace
Carved the mammoth turkey.

Stacks of garden vegetables
Mountains of potatoes
Overdressed head lettuce
Quivering molds of jello.

Pumpkin pastry with real whipped cream
Apple and mince pie
Punch & Judy ice cream
Peanut brittle.

The women cleaned up
The men smoked cigarettes
I read “The Hardy Boys”
The radio blared the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Father drove our Chrysler sedan
Over Laurel Canyon Boulevard
Into the San Fernando Valley
While Bill got car sick.

Photo:Ausdew Public domain

Written by : Bob Burnett