"" Writer's Wanderings: Christmas Memories 3

Monday, December 13, 2004

Christmas Memories 3

The first Christmas after my mother died was a particularly difficult one. In the tradition of her usual pre-Christmas activity, she had begun buying gifts for us sometime in late August. We had a new sailboat and she decided that we would all have to have jackets with our sailboat's name embroidered on them. She died in September.

I knew that gift was coming. Her best friend who had done the embroidery had called to tell me they were done. What should she do with them? "Mom would want us to have them," I told her and went and picked them up.

We invited Dad to go with us to our Christmas Eve service. Normally we would have joined the two of them and my brother and his family at their home after our service. I didn't want him sitting home alone waiting for us. Dad was never a church-goer. Not even for Christmas and Easter. Surprisingly, he agreed to go with us.

I stood between my dad and my husband as we began to sing the familiar Christmas hymns. I suddenly realized my father was singing! Not only was he singing (I only remembered him whistling--never singing) but he knew the melody and the words. He caught me staring at him.
"What?" he said like a teenager caught in the act. "I know these songs." He turned back to the hymnal and continued singing as if he did that every week.

Later there were the tears when we opened the presents and donned our jackets. "Silver Reflections" was embroidered across our backs. It is an appropriate name for our sailboat. It's gray and it's reflection looks silvery in the water. But the memories I have of my dad singing in the Christmas Eve service are "golden reflections".

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