Each day, early in the morning, I turn on the lights of our Christmas tree. I may be the only one at home to see how pretty it is, but like most people, I love the holiday season with its special meaning and its beauty.
It’s been a difficult time, but my son Doug has been discharged from the hospital and is now in one of those medical facilities for therapeutic care. I’ve been told he may have to stay there for up to three months and then require continued care at home. While I would love to have him home with me,and well, I am extremely grateful that he is showing signs of getting better. We almost lost him, and the return to full health is in the hands of a lot of dedicated medical personnel and God’s grace.
I was sitting on my sofa early this morning with Molly curled up next to me and Riley over on the loveseat snoozing in a spot next to where Doug usually sits. Those two puppies stay very close to me, and seem to understand I really do need them. My hands were busy crocheting on the afghan I am making to have auctioned at the Lincoln Day dinner. Last week I finished one of my crewel designs to add as another prize. This year I made one showing an eagle’s head, part of our flag, and the words Battle Born. Suzie, who does my framing, is doing this one, too.
Suddenly, I thought about the dinner which this year will fall on Valentine’s Day right in the middle of February. If things go according to the doctor, Doug won’t be home. It was silly, but I began to cry and had to simply let it all go. The puppies looked at me startled, and Molly climbed up on my lap. I finally had a really good cry and I think it helped me, however silly this sounds. We women tend to get emotional/and I’ve kept this worry inside of me too long. I stopped crying, got a Kleenex, went into the kitchen, gave the puppies a treat and made myself a cup of tea.
To take my mind off of all of this I turned on television and began to watch a show that featured New Year’s Eve and a memory came flooding into this old head, one of a special year when I flew from Los Angeles to Fresno to be with my future husband Van and friends. The pilot flew out over the ocean and then announced that he would turn back over the city and tip the plane back and forth so that we could see the beautiful lights below. Then we headed for Fresno. The pilot came on the intercom, again later, and told us to look down below. On the coast side of Fresno, the town below was clear, and on the east side, where the airport is located, had a solid cloud
cover. We weren’t landing in Fresno, and he headed further north to land I think it was Modesto. We were then loaded on buses and headed back to our original destination.
In the meantime Van had checked with the airport and knew that I would be coming via the bus route. Our friends lived on the main street to the airport and Van said that they should listen for the bus and that I would have the driver drop me off at the corner. Our friends laughed, but later — just about the time it had taken to get from Modesto to Fresno — he said he could hear the bus stopping.
Then he said something about she’s getting off the bus, now she’s walking across the street, now she’s walking up the driveway, now she’s going to knock on the door. And I did. We laughed about that whole evening for years. It wasn’t our habit, after we married, to celebrate New Year’s Eve going out, not with all the crazy people that dot the landscape that special evening, but we did that year. I think the name of the place was the Flamingo where we had a great dinner and got to dance and listen to some fine music.
Forgive me if my going on and on about Doug has been too much, but it has colored what should have been a great holiday season for him and me. I had to make that first 911 call on Thanksgiving and the rest has been all downhill. But your prayers, and mine have gone heavenward and he is on the mend. It won’t be easy, but he’s a fighter and God is in his corner. To all of you thank you for your prayers, have a Happy New Year and God Bless Us All.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.