Christmas with the Fritts family


David Fritts
Andy Crawford

David Fritts

I’m not doing a whole lot of fishing right now so I thought I’d write about Christmas with my family. It’s a big deal. What I’m going to tell you has been going on since before I was born — and that was a long time ago.

I don’t know how things were before I was born, but I can say that as a kid I never really wanted for much of anything. But we weren’t rich, either. Our Christmas celebrations were always more about everyone getting together and enjoying each other’s company than they were about fancy presents. That’s still the way we do it. 

On my dad’s side of the family we get together for a day or two and exchange presents and tell stories. We all work hard so we don’t always see each other that much during the year. Christmas is a time to get caught up on what’s going on with everyone.

That’s a lot of story telling. In most years around 65 people show up, but in other years there’s only about 45. For most families either one would be a lot, but for us it’s the normal thing. That’s the way it’s always been.  

One of our old family traditions — on my dad’s side now — is the oyster stew that’s made special for the event. There’s no telling how old the recipe is, but the exact same stew was being made by my grandmother before I was born. Now it’s being made by my aunt. It’s absolutely delicious. I wait all year for a couple of bowls of it.

Things are a little smaller on my mother’s side of the family. We only have 30 or so get together, and we usually do it a couple of days before Christmas day. And, it’s a little more traditional. 

Someone always makes turkey and dressing. When I say make, I mean that. There’s not much of anything that comes out of a box. It’s all put together from scratch. That’s one of the best things about it. It’s not just that it tastes better. It’s also the love that’s put into it. It’s special. I love every bite.  

The Christmas celebration is also a chance for me to show my baking skills. They’re considerable, you know. 

There’s no telling how many of my oatmeal cream pies I’ll have to make. I can tell you, though, that no matter how many of them I make it won’t be enough. They’ll all be gone when the day is over. Some say they’re the best part of the celebration — better even than the oyster stew and the turkey and dressing. I don’t really think that’s true, but it’s nice to hear. 

No matter how good my oatmeal cream pies are, however, they never cover over my sliced sweet potato pie. If you try some of it, you’ll never want to eat another slice of any other kind of pie in your life. It’s that good. 

I don’t want what I say about my baking to sound like I’m bragging. I’m not. I’m just stating a well-known fact. Ha!

That’s how we do it in my family. Knowing that won’t help you catch any more bass, but maybe it’ll put a smile on your face or give you some ideas for your family celebration.

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