We all have Christmas stories to tell. They can be happy, nostalgic, or sad. They can also be milestones in our lives.
Today I'm sharing seven of mine:
Christmas 1955 - My brother, two sisters, and cousin stayed up all night on Christmas Eve talking about Santa Claus, and the fact we were going to Disneyland on Christmas Day.
The amusement park had just opened that July, and we were breathless with excitement. I remember going through "It's A Small World" exhibit with dancing dolls from around the world. My favorite ride was the spinning teacups.
Christmas 1969 - I was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri for my advanced training as a Combat Engineer.
It was my first Christmas away from home.
To make it worse I was practically alone on the base, as most went home for the holiday. I simply didn't have the money to fly home and back. There were a couple of cooks with the same problem, and they made up a meal for the few of us stuck there on Christmas Day.
I was the Field First for my Training Company, and the only man in the company who didn't go home for Christmas. The old World War I wooden barracks were deserted. The potbelly stoves used for each one were silent and the barracks were freezing, like the weather outside.
As I walked from my little room at the end of one of the barracks, to the mess hall in a foot of snow, I recall the lonely feeling that engulfed me and how badly I missed my family.
Christmas 1974 - Married for just four months, my wife and I had a tiny apartment that she decorated for our first Christmas as man and wife.
We had very little money for extras, but we listened to Christmas music, watched Christmas stories on TV, visited family, and had a wonderful meal. Our love was magic.
Christmas 1975 - Our first son was six-months old, and my wife dressed him up for the holiday. We got him a little wooden rocking horse that he absolutely loved!
Christmas 1977 - Our second son was 10-months old and we had professional photos taken of our growing family. Our first son was very jealous of the attention his little brother got.
Christmas 1980 - Our third son was just two-months old and our second son just adored him! Our oldest son was a bit standoffish, but grew to quickly love the newest addition to our family.
Christmas 2019 - Our sons have moved on with their lives. Two of them (and their families) are here today. We'll exchange gifts and have a wonderful meal.
My wife and I are feeling nostalgic today. We're thankful for our family, and for 45 years of marriage. Above all, we're thankful for another Christmas together!
Time for me to walk on the road...