Each year I look forward to Christmas, not just for the food and cards and presents, but for the chance to reconnect with family and friends. This year was a mixed blessing. My Aunt Doris died on the nineteenth. She was a dear, unselfish woman who will be greatly missed by her community. Her death brought a touch of sadness to the holidays that I’m sure her children and grandchildren will feel for years to come. But her passing also gave us a gift to cherish- the chance to sit around and talk about our lives with those we love. The “family night” brought out family and friends from all over the area. And though I told one of my cousins that we have to stop meeting “just at funerals”, we still enjoyed that brief reconnection. Sometimes as we go about our lives we forget that we are part of a bigger picture, a huge circle of family and friends connected to other families and friends. The “small world” concept is certainly apparent at a funeral in southeastern Oklahoma.
We were blessed this weekend by a call from my husband’s only brother, who recently returned safely from Kuwait. He now begins the task of picking up the pieces of his life. His house has more or less been “in storage” for over a year. His real life has been on hold. I can’t imagine being gone for such a long time. We are so very grateful to all of the friends who helped us pray for him, and thankful to have him home from the war. We plan to get together with him in June when we visit our daughter in California.
Two of my brothers made the trip to our dad’s for Christmas. It was great to see both of them. It has been almost a year since I’d seen one of them and over a year since I’d seen the other. We let ourselves get too busy! We go about our lives and work and play and forget how short this life really is and how few chances we may get to just sit and talk. I hope we all make an effort this next year to get together more often.
I got a great surprise on Christmas Day! I was standing on my father’s front porch, talking with my brothers, when someone drove down the block, came to a screeching halt in front of the house, backed up, and turned into the driveway. Just as the car made the turn I recognized a dear friend I haven’t seen in more than eight years. The sight of her bounding down the driveway with her arms outstretched was worth more than any box tied with ribbons! We talked and talked, and then made plans to visit next week. Turns out she is only about an hour away. Small world.
A present my husband and I bought for ourselves has opened up a whole new world. We bought a scanner that copies negatives and slides. We have hundreds of both! I have some old negatives that my dad gave me, some my mother left in her files, and some from my childhood attempts at photography. Seems like I’ve always had a camera! Anyway, I played with the new scanner this morning and saw a couple of photos from my childhood that I’ve never seen before. Also scanned some old black and white photos that I recently came across when I was going through my genealogy files. What a treat! I’ll share one here. It’s a picture of three of my brothers with their new guns. I remember when every Christmas included some kind of gun or knife or “action figure”.
Our son visited this weekend and he, too, got a visit from old friends. They were passing through and remembered where we live. They assumed our son would be visiting and they were right. It was good to see them and great to see our son reconnect with someone he hadn’t seen in a while. (I won’t say more because he hates for me to blog about him.)
Family and friends. Those are the best gifts for this or any holiday season. I hope you got a chance to visit and talk and laugh with those you love. Aunt Doris’s passing reminded me again that we need to cherish each other while we have the chance. I hope you will try to spend more time with loved ones. I hope you will call and email. I hope you will not let little differences or busy lifestyles or anything else keep you apart. Just reconnect and enjoy!