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Inspirational Reads

Ere He Drove Out of Sight

December 24, 2007

A couple of things. First, I'm sorry I didn't send any of you Christmas cards this year. I got many beautiful cards filled with lovely messages of Holiday spirit. Thank you, one and all for the cards you sent. We misplaced our address book, and so we just didn't get around to sending them. I can send you two next year if you'd like.

I've decided that, aside from "A Christmas Story", Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July could be my favorite "classic" Christmas story, only because it beautifully ties all of the other stories together in one. Crappy storyline, but it was pretty cool seeing all those Rankin-Bass productions being pulled together and tied up like the final book of a well-written trilogy.

Finally, today is Christmas Eve, so I thought I'd share my absolute favorite Christmas Story from my youth (since I haven't told you all a tasty tidbit from when I was a kid in a while).

Every year, on Christmas Eve, we would go to our grandparents houses for Christmas. Usually, it was my Grandma Jane's house in the morning and my Grandpa Obie's house in the evening. We'd open presents and play and everything. The biggest joy was that all of my aunts and uncles rolled in, so this would be one of those times that I'd see my cousin Scott because he lived SO far away in Fort Wayne (I lived in a town a little east of Huntington, IN) and that 20 miles or so prevented us from seeing that wing of the family very often.

This particular year, however, we had a terrible snow storm come whipping through the countryside, as many of you in the midwest and northeast are experiencing or have experienced in the past few days. The roads were covered with ice which was covered with snow, and my mother, fearing...well...everything...decided that it was too unsafe for us to brave the trip to my grandfather's house in order to celebrate Christmas. So, there would be no Christmas Eve for us this year. We would be stuck at home while my other cousins were all together, playing, laughing, running around the circle that comprised my grandfather's living room, family room, kitchen and dining room (a traditional holiday custom), and getting their presents.

My mom hung up the phone from where she had called my grandfather to give him the news that we were not coming, and I shuffled off to another part of the house. I remember staring out the window, watching the snow fly and whip around in the wind and wistfully imagining my aunts and uncles and grandfather loading up their cars and driving over to our house. I felt bad, because I thought it was selfish of me wanting to have them risk their own safety in order to make the trip over to my house just for Christmas Eve. Finally, I abandoned my post in the dining room window, went into the living room (but not the den, because the roof in the den/sunroom always creaked heavily whenever we got a lot of snow, as if it was about to cave in at any moment...this has since been fixed, but as a child there was always the looming danger of imminent death and the sheer rapturous joy of watching my father climb up onto the roof with a broom and a shovel to clear it off when he finally got home from work).

Moments after I started working a puzzle by myself, the front door flew open like it had just been kicked off its hinges. SLAM! it met the wall of the dining room. All of us whipped our heads around, certain that part of the house was being crushed beneath the awesome weight of the icicles hanging from the eaves outside my brother's room (my mother had us terrified of all manner of wintery evils while I was a kid) only to find my Uncle Marty (cousin Scott's father) standing triumphantly in the doorway, his glasses fogged over, his scarf whipping about his head and shoulders like an aviator fresh off a cross-country flight, a long brown coat dusted with snow and a cap that fit tight to his skull. In his arms he bore a laundry basket. In the laundry basket was a stack of beautifully wrapped presents.

"Merry Christmas!" he boomed, and he pushed his way into the house to the bay window in my living room where he neatly began depositing the presents.

Behind my Uncle Marty came a whole host of relatives, each bearing presents or candy or, even better, food. Despite my own fears of selfishness, Christmas Eve had come to our house! My father was quick to join my uncles and cousins as they shuffled the last of the Christmas feast and presents into the house. Soon, things were warming in the kitchen and my father, ever the resourceful one, even had found time to start brewing coffee. The house suddenly filled with the buzz of conversation, the warmth of family, and the delicious smells of dinner being cooked in the kitchen. The dining room table was hastily assembled, as well as the auxiliary table for the children. Soon, we were seated around the table. Immediately after, we began opening presents, and right after that? The adults began playing Trivial Pursuit (another holiday tradition).

I can't tell you what I got for Christmas that year, nor how old I was, or even what year it was. But, I do remember it being one of the happiest Christmases of my life, only because, for once, my Christmas wish came matter how selfish I thought it was when I made it. A few hours after they arrived, everyone departed and everyone made it home safely. In the post holiday rush, I remember practically glowing as I made my way to my bed to eagerly await Santa Claus, knowing that he would not be able to make me nearly as happy as my family already had.

So, my friends and other casual blog viewers, Merry Christmas to you all. I certainly hope that this year and every year afterward captures the warmth and joy as that Christmas did for me those long years ago.


Chemgeek said...

Well told.
Well said.

Merry Christmas!

Jim said...

Merry Christmas, Matt. - Jim