A Merry Christmas for Mom

The Miracle of Christmas is and has been the spirit of the Holidays as people reflect upon life and how they can help others. The Spirit of true love of others has always been the special spirit of Christmas and the holiday seasons.

I remember as a boy in Colorado the special Spirit of Christmas. We lived in Evergreen Colorado and it was then a small mountain town. The people and a feeling of goodness and love of others were as thick as the ice on Evergreen Dam in the middle of winter…

We as a family would go to our Mountain Chapel and decorate it for the coming holiday seasons and enjoy the fellowship of others with a grand collection of helpers and fellow Catholic friends. After the decorations were completed, and it took several days because we made the wreaths, evergreen ropes, and set up the nativity scene, when completed it was time to return in the evening and see our results with lights glowing and music playing Christmas Carols….

Oh Come all ye Faithful, O Holy Night, Deck the Halls, and the other great Christmas music as our small choir and vocalist made ever holiday season so sweet, one could almost taste the beauty of Christmas.

We then would begin the decorations on our home. We had a large evergreen spruce in our front yard. It was probably 20 feet tall. It took many strings of colored lights and a very tall ladder. Our indoor Christmas tree would not be decorated until Christmas Eve just before we went to Mid-night Mass.

We would come home and enjoy a wonderful warm fire in the rock fire place and the older folks would drink hot butter-rum and enjoy Christmas music together. Us little ones would scurry off to bed and a wait the Christmas morning to dawn.

I was excited for Christmas morning but not just what was in my packages but if mom would enjoy her gift. She was always so gracious in her acceptance of self made gifts from her children. But this one Christmas I wanted so much to give her something she would always love and cherish.

I had worked that summer for the grocery store in our little city center of Evergreen. Evergreen was a small little town with Bear Creek running though the narrow canyon surrounded by mountains on both sides of the town strip next to the paved road leading up to the dam.

I found a rosary in a curio shop on the board walk of our city strip down the street from the grocery store. It was white with a silver crucifix and a silver chain. It was to this young 10 year old boy a perfect gift. Her old rosary was one she had from her childhood days and the beads were worn smooth with age. It was given to her after her catechism graduation by her priest.

Well the morning broke and the sun shined brightly as we arose early to visit the tree. Out parents were still in bed as we entered their bedroom space to free them from their sleeping journey.

Of course they stirred slowly and just wanted coffee and a few minutes to get back to life again. My older sister had made a pot of coffee for them and she brought them in two cups. Mom looked at her with loving eyes and thanked her as Dad slipped out of bed and went into the bathroom sipping his coffee.

After agonizing time we gathered around the tree and it was time to open presents. I really don’t remember my presents that year but my excitement was saved to see Mom open her badly wrapped gift from her son. She looked into the small box of cotton and beads and her eyes began to fill with tears.

Her look was worth all and every experience this little person had ever enjoyed to that time. She looked at me and melted my heart with her eyes. She pulled me into her arms and I started to cry. She thanked me for such a lovely gift and held me for several minutes. Then she asked what I got and we talked about other things for a few seconds and she kissed me on the cheek and hugged me again.

We went into the kitchen where Dad was cooking breakfast and we ate eggs, bacon, Texas toast, still my favorite toast, and orange juice, of course my folks drank coffee. The day drifted and our turkey dinner was delicious and time passed then it was evening.

Mom turned on the new Philco floor standing cabinet radio, her gift from Dad and she found the Mormon Tabernacle choir on CBS. They were singing The Evening Tide, we all listened and when the program of Christmas and Religious music ended we said our prayers and went to bed.

I woke up about two hours later and went out of my bedroom on way to the bathroom. I saw my mother down stairs in the living room saying her prayers with the rosary I bought her for Christmas. What a wonderful way to remember her last happy Christmas for in just a few short years she at age 44 would pass into our other life, a causality of cancer.

Robert D. Ashford was a Marine during the cold war and is now retired, after 50 years of construction management. He is a keen genealogist and loves humor. He watches the political horizons and likes to write commentary on what’s next.