Wednesday, December 21, 2011
A Christmas Memory
Sitting at the computer this morning, I thought of Christmas memories. As everyone does, I have quite a few wonderful recollections from the past. I thought I would share one, but I am wondering which one is the best to share. I loved going to the Grandparents’ houses as a child. The Nixon side had a ton of older cousins to terrorize me and aunts to follow around the kitchen. At the Hedahl’s we always had my Grandmother’s delicious cookies, scrumptious lefse, and playing my child version of pool upstairs. Staying home was never as much fun except the year that our neighbor’s family came to visit from England. He had two grandchildren just my age. We played games and sledded for days on end. I also remember getting to attend the Catholic Church midnight Mass with family friends. The year I didn’t attend seems to be the memory that stands out the most.
Thinking back to that time, I haven’t a clue of what age I was at the time. I believe I was probably in fourth or fifth grade. I should ask, but I don’t know if Mom would remember either. The friends that always took me to Mass were like family. I have talked about some of them before. The parents I called Aunt and Uncle and the kids (five in total) were like cousins. Their oldest daughter had graduated from high school and lived in a town about an hour from ours. Her and her cousin were driving and got in a horrid car wreck due to snow and ice on the road. I don’t remember the details, but I remember this being the first time praying for a friend in crisis. I cried and worried like crazy.
Being this is a childhood memory, I could be very wrong about the details. However, I remember a movie coming out right after the wreck. It was about a bus load of teenagers getting stuck on the train tracks and getting hit by an oncoming train. The main character was a young girl who then had to overcome the struggles of learning how to walk again. I got it into my head that my friend and her cousin wrecked on the train tracks and were fortunate a train didn’t come. This could be wrong. I so related my friend to this movie. Also, my friend, though I hadn’t seen her yet, was in a wheelchair. To this day, I get an eerie feeling when crossing train tracks and I always double check.
Christmas Eve night, when their entire family stopped at the house, it was decided that since getting the wheelchair into the church would be really difficult, she would stay at our house while the rest attended Mass. I was invited along. I struggled with the decision. The pull of attending the celebration was great, but the chance to spend time with a friend who we could have lost in the accident was greater. I chose to stay with her. We watched television I believe or sat around chatting. My gratitude to God that year was huge. Though the wheelchair intimidated me, I was so thankful we still had her in our lives.
Do you have gratitude this season? Though it is not as poignant, I am grateful again this year. I can’t pinpoint it to anything huge like a saved loved one, but instead it is simply for life in general.
Merry Christmas to you all.