(Go see Skittles for Heads Or Tails details and other participants)
All of my Christmas gifts are memorable, wonderful and appreciated. However, the first one that jumped to mind was from a long, long time ago.
Almost every Christmas, our entire extended family went to my Grandmother’s cabin for the holiday. There were two bedrooms downstairs and two great room upstairs filled with lots of beds. We all bunked together. Every year we prayed and hoped for snow. If it snowed hard enough, we would get snowed in and be unable to go home the day after Christmas. Most times it didn’t.
The year was 1970 and I was seven years old. My Great-grandma Healy was with us and for the few days before Christmas Eve she took myself, my little brother and little sister out onto the porch and taught us the “snow shuffle.” She must have been at least 86 at the time, but she sang a little ditty and shuffled her feet with us.
On Christmas Eve we went to bed and were too excited to sleep. We could hear all the adults downstairs in the family room and every so often they would hear us giggling or talking and they would holler up the stairs for us to go to sleep or Santa wouldn’t come. Eventually I drifted off to sleep. I awoke to a deafening silence. It was so quiet it was almost scary. I crept out of bed and I knew I wasn’t allowed to go downstairs to my parents room without waking one of my aunts or uncles. I crept over to the window upstairs and raised the curtains. The world was blanketed deep and thick in white. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Until I started screaming at everyone, “IT SNOWED. IT SNOWED.”
After the aunts and uncles went downstairs to wake up the eldest siblings and the grandparents and coffee was brewed, us children were allowed downstairs. Santa brought me a wonderful Barbie, but best of all something I hadn’t even asked for. It was a (faux) fur muffler and hat. The muffler was like this, but the hat was like a fur hoodie with a tie under the chin and the muffler had a long string to go around my neck.
It was a great day, but a bit sad because everyone else would be staying at the cabin until New Years and we had to go home (my dad worked for his father and he required my Dad back at work on the 27th as usual). By mid-afternoon, the snow had mostly melted at least enough that the roads were cleared. I went to sleep that night (after performing the snow dance one last time with Grama Healy) in a melancholy mood knowing that when I awoke we would have to start packing.
The next morning I awoke suddenly, yet again, surprised by the silence. Sure enough many inches of snow had fallen. My Dad was not one to shirk his duties (reasonable or otherwise) and spent hours shoveling and clearing. The cabin was off the maintained roads so there was no snow plow. He spent another few hours just trying to get the car out of the drive and onto the street. It didn’t happen, much to my joy. But I remember standing out there cheering him on (because I wanted him to be happy) with my hands (and my barbie) stuffed warm and dry inside my muffler while the snow continued to fall around me. We ended up “stuck” there until my birthday (Jan 3rd)!
Truly a wonderful memory. But a new memory now will join it. Without people like Skittles and the others I have met online, I may not have recalled this memory so vividly. I love how this little space of mine has exposed me to so many people who make me think, remember, recall and be creative. It is all inside me, just waiting to be released, thanks to all who help me tune into it and release!