It was many moons ago, early Christmas morning… Casey had gotten called in to work as an unexpectedly heavy snow fell. I was unable to go back to sleep after he left, so I got up and had a cup of coffee and watched the fat, fluffy, flakes falling softly, outlining the landscape outside… At about 6am, a couple cups of coffee under my belt, I piled into the car and drove carefully up the street to my mom and dad’s house, where the lights were blazing and the two of them were about the business of making Christmas. (my kids were past Santa, and of an age where they could easily have slept all day)
Inside Mom and Daddy’s house, the oven was warm, the tree was lit, Christmas music from the local fogey channel was playing softly. I joined right in, peeling potatoes, chopping celery, stopping for ciggie breaks and conversation. I don’t remember what we talked about, or whether it was a ham or turkey, (though probably it was ham with that weird sauce she used to fix). I don’t even remember what year it was, just that it was happy.
As I went to leave, a couple of hours later, Mom said, “I think this is how Christmas is supposed to be”. and I laughed and said, “I do, too”. Daddy was standing over by the door, and he put his arms out and said, “Group Hug”. Mom and I fell into him, all of us holding onto each other and squeezing; I said, “I love you guys” and Mom said, “Love you, too, Jody” and Daddy said, “Love”… We all laughed as we un-hugged, (and Daddy pulled my ears) and I went out to my car warm and mellow.
The snow had stopped, leaving the world looking like a Currier & Ives Christmas card.
Quietly, I drove the short distance back, full of the love from that hug, wondering at the beauty of the snow-covered world, feeling like I owned it.
That hug still warms me today. Daddy’s been gone 18 years, Mom 13, but that memory is like a movie I watch again and again, as real as my dreams. There is no group here to hug today, but very soon we will all be together and there will be some mega-hugging going on.
Till then, do me a favor, will you? Have yourself a merry Group-Hug today; hold each other tight. Give your loved ones a memory that will warm them 20+ years later.
Merry Christmas, friends. Have a happy.