Most people remember a favorite Christmas. Mine happened several years ago. I doubt if many people will recall 2020 as their favorite Christmas unless they get the COVID vaccine as a gift and it performs a miracle that allows them to resume life as it was before last March.
My best Christmas occurred about a month after Ruth and I had the man who turned out to eventually become our son-in-law over to our house to help us decorate our Christmas tree. Ruth decided to make a special Shaker lemon pie for the occasion, but she forgot to put sugar into it. Imagine a lemon pie without any sweetener! Our son-in-law still laughs when he remembers trying to eat it with a straight face. Afterwards we decorated a fine tree together and bonded.
While this was happening our daughter was in Spain. She had decided to study in Madrid for the semester that ended just before Christmas that year. We had not seen her for 3 months, but her boyfriend, whom she later married, got into the habit of calling Ruth & me after every telephone conversation with her in Spain. We really appreciated these calls. Ironically, the photo at the top of the Christmas tree was taken in Madrid a few years later.
On December 23 of that year our daughter was to return home for Christmas, but her flight was cancelled. At the last minute she got another one from Madrid to New York City. She called to tell us and we alerted our future son-in-law. Being the day before Christmas Eve, this was a tough time to get a flight anywhere. She called after 10 pm to say she had made it to Philadelphia and would be in St. Louis by 1:30 am. We called our future son-in-law to tell him. He was delighted. We invited him to come to our house so we could go to the airport together. He agreed. A teacher at the time, Ruth had been collecting mittens at school for a seasonal project and they needed to go somewhere to be of use. It began to snow as the 3 of us headed to Busch Brewery. There was an orphanage near it that agreed to accept the mittens. We dropped them off and enjoyed the Christmas lights in that part of St. Louis before heading for the airport.
Our daughter’s flight from Philadelphia was almost on time and we had a joyful reunion. As an early gift, she gave Ruth the pearls she had bought for her in Spain. The 4 of us exchanged other gifts, and Ruth & I went to bed at 4 am.
Our future son-in-law was studying to be a commercial pilot at the time and was scheduled to fly to Florida on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday with his parents. I took him to the airport and watched him take off at 11:30 am. Luckily, I recorded the events above in my log so that I am certain that things happened the way I now report them.