The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Whoa! What happened to summer?

Time to get on with the preparations. No need to look for the holiday dishes when you only have one set.

Candlesticks? Right handy as we use them every night. Makes the neighbors wonder what we have been up to when they see the flicker of candles through the window.

I remember family holiday feasts before the electronic age we now live in. It was a kinder, gentler time that brought much laughter and a few tears.

The tears could always be counted on from my Mom when she said grace those many years, but the laughter was inspired by everyone. Funny, happy memories … so many to choose from.

My brand-new sister-in-law tripping over the dog on the way to the dining room, dispatching the traditional creamed onions down the hallway floor.

Neither my sister-in-law nor the dog was hurt, but the creamed onions didn’t survive.

Sipping homemade cider out of mason jars by an old wood stove at my aunt and uncle’s farm, not realizing the sweet tang was prompting us to laugh at jokes that weren’t even funny.

Trying to teach a half frozen turkey, which we thought was ready to stuff, how to swim. (The label said you could thaw it in water.) Good thing we had a large sink.

That was time-consuming, nerve-wracking, extremely exciting and afterward very funny. It was also delicious.

Covertly fooling my cousin’s superstitious grandmother to sit at a table at which 13 people would be served. The extra setting and chair did the trick, but after dinner she mentioned that one of the parties didn’t make the trip.

We all were nervous that one of the younger children would blow our cover.

In the past, laden holiday tables have seated an overflow of family.

As our young people left to begin their own lives and their own traditions, there was an ebb in the number.

No longer are card tables necessary at both ends of the table. However, just as the tide changes, so will the number of chairs when the flux of growing families and memories of childhood bring them back home.

It is a time to once again renew the magic of old stories passed on to new family members, and to celebrate the sweet memory of the folks who aren’t with us to share the laughter.

Some traditions cannot be changed. The famous creamed onions will be on the menu.

Enjoy the preparations. They are your future stories.

Barbara Jenni is a resident of Bridgton