Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Memories Contest- The Christmas That Never Was

Originally uploaded by Lutz-R. Frank.

This is my favorite Christmas Memory

The Christmas That Never Was
by Deb Brandt

Christmas didn't come that year. There was no dinner, no tree, no presents to open all in a flurry of wrapping paper and bows. I tried to make Merry with a pair of silly antlers that had sparkly ornaments dangling. They added a little joy, but fell short of expectations of a celebration.

My younger sister Kim had a stroke. She had been in the hospital for a month before I came to stay. The first week I was alone at her house. Getting things ready. All the handicap adjustments needed to be made, space made, boxes moved, railings added.

Knowing I was in over my head to accomplish this task, I called my old friend John to come to my rescue. John has been a friend of mine since we were both in our teens. I met him when I had just moved into my first apartment. The Harrison Street House had a satellite of friends of friends who became my friends. John is one of those.

John is tall and handsome in a John Travolta kind of way. He is great fun, energetic and witty. John came prepared with a John Phillips Sousa CD. We moved boxes to the basement with the strains of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" propelling us onward. The house was made ready for Kim's homecoming, on December 23rd.

On Christmas Eve John invited us for a Christmas dinner. Kim could not get out of the house as the ramp being constructed was not finished. She told me to go, that I needed to have some fun.

I arrived at John's place. Martha Stewart would have been impressed at the dinner and decorations in his home. After dinner we baked a pineapple upside down cake. John had the cake,cider, cups, and all the picnic wear to take to the Air Force Reserve Unit At Baer Field, on the other end of town.

It had started to rain. Ice kept forming on the windshield wipers. John and I had to stop every few miles to clear away the ice. John had forgotten his gloves, so I would keep the left and give him the right so he could clear his side of windshield and the frozen wiper blades. This was a great adventure, with much witty banter and laughter. The ice storm only added to the excitement, as a small amount of danger sometimes does.

We arrived at the gate of the Air Force Reserve Compound. The guard at the gate had his machine gun at the ready and commanded we halt. He was a baby faced boy, maybe eighteen, but looking much younger to this Mom.

John handed him a tin of cookies and wished him a Merry Christmas. He opened the tin and asked what kind? Chocolate Chip, I said. His eyes lit up like a kid with a new puppy wrapped in a red bow on Christmas morning. "My favorite!" he replied.

By the time the cake and punch picnic had been delivered, the rain had turned to snow. Gigantic flakes like feathers floated down in the still, crisp, air.

At Johns house, some mulled wine warmed us. The conversation flowed over all the waters we have crossed on our parallel life journeys.

About midnight John drove me back to Kim's. We took a tour of John's list of Best Christmas Lights on the way.

The snow had covered everything perfectly, every branch, every bough, of every tree was blanketed with six inches of powder snow. The lights underneath glowed so sweetly.

A fairy tale snow.
That was my Christmas gift
The perfect snowfall.


What is your best Holiday memory? Leave yours in the comments.


At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it when the universe pulls it all together to give you just what you need! What a great Christmas story. Time with good friends and giving to others is really what it is all about.

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely story Deb!
Memories are like water to me. They shift and flow, become solid for a moment and then melt away.
I remember My eldest's second Christmas. The awe and wonder over having a tree in the house.
The year that my sister was visiting from over seas and we got to keep her for an extra week because of the ice storms that blanked much of eastern and central Canada.
The excitement that the kids feel this year over the whole season.
Getting the Barbie car and airplane when I was seven.
Dinner every year with friends and family.
The calm that descends about 11 o'clock on Christmas night after the kids are in bed, the paper and packaging has been cleaned up, the dishes done, and the de-frag bottle of wine has been opened. Bill and I cheers each other and count our blessings.

Happy Christmas Deb.


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