If, as I did, you moved here a long time ago, we don’t celebrate Christmas as much as we have memories of Christmas. Then again, it may just be that I’m getting old, and have more Christmas times to remember.
Back home, there’s snow on the ground every Christmas. It crunches at this time of year . . .
Mom was 34 and pretty. The day before Christmas, Dad was out getting a tree. They didn’t tell me what was going on in the basement—that had been off limits for nearly a month—but, Christmas morning the cellar door was unlocked, and there I’d find a “village” my dad had built, with model trains and lakes and waterfalls and bridges, and it was fantastic.
Christmas morning 1945, I blinked awake while it was still dark outside. I crept to the top of the stairs—the banister was ringed with a lighted garland that led to the living room. Their bedroom door was closed; they’d never see me. If I had stepped on a mouse, it wouldn’t have felt my weight. Cautiously, I discovered the glow coming from a far corner of the living room was a spectacular tree of lights, surrounded with ribbons and bows and boxes of presents—no clothes, I prayed. A sound outside startled me.
As I turned, I saw it—behind the sofa, leaning against a frost covered picture window, the handle bars curved above the sofa cushions like antlers on a deer—a new bike, my two-wheeler! Then I saw them—my father, home from the war a few months earlier, and my mom, sitting at the top of the stairs, holding each other’s arms, watching me.
And just as the Big Ben chimes of the grandfather clock in the hall struck five, the sound I had heard outside the house became a chorus of carolers walking the crisp white street, stopping for a moment in front of each home, singing their good news.
Was it ever Christmas again, or only snowy scenes on greeting cards, and dreams of bikes and mistletoe? I love it here, but I miss my mom and dad and waking before dawn on Christmas mornings and hearing the sounds—the crunch of boots in the snow and carols in the air.
Have a memorable holiday.