Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

I think that, the older you get, the more Christmas brings mixed emotions. Overall, it's just an immensely happy time and I love gathering with my family.

But I am keenly aware that it's not happy for everyone. We just heard some awful news from Little Rock. A young man who is a year older than Older Son and used to play with him in our old neighborhood, and whose parents we knew from church, was killed in a plane crash a couple of days ago, along with his wife. A pilot, he was trying to land his plane at the airport in Colorado Springs in unusally heavy fog. They had flown from South Dakotah, where he was stationed in the Air Force, to Colorado to be with her family for Christmas.

Just like that, this family's Christmas is not happy at all, but wrapped in grief and sorrow. Each Christmas now will remind them of this tragedy. And all I can do is offer a prayer for them, that the child we celebrate this time of year will meet them right where they are and comfort them with a supernatural comfort, and help them to somehow know that He does, in fact, make all things new.


I went to the grocery store early this morning to get a few items for Christmas morning breakfast. The pickings were rather slim, but that's what I get for waiting until today to make my list and get what I needed.

I was surprised that there weren't more fellow shoppers. It really wasn't very crowded. I guess the serious Christmas cooks have already gathered what they need by December 24. Among my peers this morning, though, was a lovely lady who looked to be about 70. Her dark brown hair was swept into a bun, she had high heels on her feet and she was adorned in a full length mink coat.

And that coat reminded me of my mother.

To explain, there was not one thing pretentious or showy about my mom. She hung clothes out on a clothes line until sometime in the 1970s when she bought a used clothes drier at a garage sale. She still hung sheets on the line, and ironed them, until she became sick with cancer in 1996.

She rarely spent money on herself. She clipped coupons with a vengeance and could sniff out a bargain better than anyone I ever knew. She and my dad recycled before it was even called recycling.

So to say my mother lived frugally is an understatment. Sometime in the 1980s, though, after years of her longing and dreaming, my dad bought her a mink coat. I don't know why she wanted a mink coat, of all things, but she did. And the fact that she had lived her life so economically made it that much more cool for her to have something so seemingly extravagant.

And oh, how she loved that coat. It's not like South Arkansas had brutal winters but when the thermometer would hit about 50 or below, my mother would put that coat on and yes, she would wear it to the grocery store and, although I never saw her do it, I would not have been suprised to have seen her wearing it as she hung sheets out on the line.

So this morning, when I saw the dressed-up lady with the mink coat, I couldn't help myself. I told her that it was one of the most beautiful coats I had ever seen and I told her it reminded me of my mother. Her face lit up with a big smile and she graciously thanked me, and said she just loved wearing it. I told her I could tell she did.

And I know mink coats are no longer popular, and are in fact frowned upon, and I am really sorry for the animals that were killed to make the coats. But seeing that pretty lady in the mink coat added a very happy dimension to Christmas for me.


In keeping with our internationally themed Christmas Eves, we're doing Greek this year. Gyros, Greek salad, roasted potatoes and baklava. And dear Wife, bless her, with the blessing of all of us, got part of it from a Greek restaurant. She has had a low stress day and I think that's just great.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


Pam said...

Merry Christmas, Bob, to you and your family!! I just loved your post.

I think of both my parents this time of year. Daddy loved Christmas and Mama made everything festive.

When my kids were growing up i modeled my Christmas traditions by those of my parents, and, to a great degree, the Christmases of my grandsons, tho' I've added and subtracted much over the decades.

Have a wonderful holiday and eat some yummy Greek food for me!!! :)

Maggie said...

Should I post your video 'Feliz Navidad' number from a few years ago? Or maybe we'll just film a Greek version and try it again this year. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Love you :)

quid said...

Wonderful story of the mink, and sad about your friends' loss. Losing a loved one on a holiday does stay with you your whole life.

Enjoy your Greek! OPA!


Kelly said...

The Greek feast sounds delicious. Hope you had a wonderful day!

Hal Johnson said...

Great story about your mom, Bob. I hope your Christmas Day was one to remember.