By Grant McGee
I was on the phone with No. 2 daughter last Sunday. She was down. She’s a single mom with two little ones. It was a cold, cloudy day back east. This was getting her down and that was getting her down.
“And I’m lonesome, Dad,” she said.
I told her I understood.
“It’s Christmas,” I said. “Try to forget all that stuff and focus on the kids. Christmas is about kids. Christmas is about family. Remember some good Christmas times?”
I reminded her of when she was a wee thing. A storm came through Christmas eve. Snow. Wind. Around 4 a.m., the wind blew the front door off the house, the noise woke everyone up. No. 2 daughter and No. 1 daughter stood in wide-eyed amazement at the door, then they looked at the Christmas tree with all the presents underneath it.
“Santa’s been here,” exclaimed No. 1 daughter, “and he forgot to shut the door.”
The conversation took me back to other Christmases.
I still remember the bright flash in my face Christmas morning when I was 4.
It was from me sticking a plug in the wall, a plug that had a piece of tinsel stuck on it.
I was wearing my fire-engine-red robe and was all excited as any 4-year-old could be.
My father said, “plug in the tree lights” to no one in particular.
Wanting to be first, I ran over to the plug, grabbed it and slammed it into the socket. There was a bright flash, a pop and next thing I knew I was looking at the ceiling.
Then we opened presents.
I remember the Christmas I got a lot of camping stuff: a backpack, ax, sleeping bag, camping stove and lantern. I was ready to go live in the woods, as far as I was concerned.
There was the Christmas I poured hot coffee in my grandmother’s ear trying to wake her up with just the aroma from the pot. She thought it was funny years later, but not when it happened.
Another Christmas my father fell into the lighted tree. We all laughed. He didn’t.
There was the last Christmas I had with my father. We all run through cycles in life: ups, downs. This was during one of those down times. I had no car, walked back and forth to work, and lived in a place with just a hot plate to cook on. My parents drove to see me for Christmas. They brought new clothes for presents. The three of us went to dinner. We talked, we laughed.
“Things are a little tough for you now, son,” I remember my father saying, “but someday you’ll look back on all this and laugh. Write about it.”
The time spent with my folks and the new clothes really boosted my feelings during what had been a low time. That was the best Christmas I ever had with both my parents.
There was another time it began to snow, maybe a month before Christmas. I picked up No. 3 daughter and held her at the front door.
“Look, sweetheart, snow,” I said.
She looked at the falling flakes and smiled.
“Santa will be here soon,” she said.
“Thanks for the thoughts, Dad,” said No. 2 daughter.
I was back in the present.
I remembered. She remembered.
How about you and yours?
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org