Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Another Christmas--Another Sweet Memory
Today, in the car, on the way to buy sand to spread on the ice covered driveway of our daughter, G mentioned, in a startled, sad way, that he hadn't gotten me a present.
This is the man who has been driving ME to and from work for weeks because he knows just how terrified I am of night time driving. That is gift enough. For a lifetime.
And, while he was buying the sand, I was remembering another December. 1979. G was a new hire for a major corporation. Traveling to Europe for two weeks a month. One of the benefits was an annual trip with your wife along. He didn't want to miss taking me that first year. We left on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and were away for two weeks. I was 32. We'd already moved three times. Sam was 10 and C was 8.
First stop was Stockholm. About 4 hours of daylight. Jet lag. But I remember the cobbled streets, the wonderful food, the brightly lighted shop windows, the little pink pig ornaments . Instead of "good luck" the Swedes would say "have swine". A pig was very good luck as you would have food for the winter. Therefore, the pig ornaments and the little pig candy treats. I brought home little red candles in wooden cups and a box full of straw ornaments. Still have them.
Then we traveled to London. The most wonderful hotel just down the High street from Selfridges and Harrods. I walked. Window shopped. I drank tea. Ate wet, cold toast. I bought lined boots which came in handy at the next stop. I bought Christmas Crackers. G and I went to the theater. Ate artichokes drenched in butter. I brought home a very large Paddington Bear (with red rubber boots) for the 8 year old, but it ended up being mine. I also brought home a Christmas book about a grumpy Father Christmas. A book I love looking at (no words) each and every Christmas since.
Next stop was Munich. Where Christmas lives and breathes. G arranged a bus tour of the castles for me one day (he worked as usual and I was on my own all day for the two weeks) and I met two lovely women on the bus. The next day the three of us drove to Strasberg. I brought home lovely memories and two lovely Hummel dolls. I have never seen any like them in all the years since--even while living in Germany. We had wonderful food. Slept in carved pine beds with huge, soft down comforters. Oh, I thought I was in heaven.
I still have the things I brought back home with me. But most of all I have the memories of a delightful "Christmas" trip that I remember with love to this very day. And, guess what? I was telling a co worker this story--of that trip--- just as G was driving to pick me up today---while he was realizing that he had no gift to give me tomorrow. Those lovely memories-- gift enough. For a lifetime.
And being able to tell my stories to you, dear readers--- Gift enough. And my thanks. Have a very Happy Christmas.