Throughout the two weeks before Christmas my mood was tempered by the knowledge that Sam would not be with me for the holiday and that took some of the joy out of the season.
No matter what, this holiday was going to be a challenge for everyone. The nation as a whole is struggling with a lot. We will all get along with less. No huge presents for the Grandkids or ourselves. No gift exchange with extended family, and I missed shopping for presents, as I am a shopaholic it was quite hard on me.
Even my trip to Chicago lacked some luster due to the fact I only really had money for the train trip. But I bucked up and just enjoyed the lights and sights and the sounds. Actually, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I’ll get the hang of it yet.
But I digress. It is Christmas Eve and I am at my Son’s house with the Grandkids. It doesn’t really feel like Christmas. Mom and I brought a roast and Sherrod is fixing Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco treat) . I still keep hoping that Sam will show up by some act of God, but as the clock ticks on, I know the chances are dwindling.
Mom and I get ready for Midnight Mass and climb in the car at 10:30 p.m. We make our way to the little church in Parchment, where we join the choir for some caroling before Mass.
It is just a little after midnight and it is Christmas. I look up as I notice the vestibule door opening. There is something familiar about the coat I catch a glimpse of. Oh my Lord, it’s Sam. Mass had just started so I couldn’t scream, so I cry instead. He takes a seat in the last pew and I blow him kisses, waiting anxiously for the homily to start so I can go sit next to him.
When it was time I ran over and gave him a big hug and told him Merry Christmas and that I was so happy to see him. “You didn’t think I was going to let you spend Christmas without me, did you?” he said. Well actually, I did.
He had planned on getting in at 6:30 in the evening Christmas Eve, but instead got to Kalamazoo by bus via Lansing. It was like a scene from Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, and Love Story.
When all the family got to my Son’s house they were thrilled to see Sam. Grown women wept and my Brothers were tickled too.
So you see, this was one of our simplest Christmas’s yet, with a great meal and great company and I will remember it forever.