ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE
When I was a little girl we had Christmas morning at home, but Christmas Eve was always at my paternal grandma's little house in the country. The excitement mounted for several weeks as we prepared for the yearly gathering of dad's family. We usually had several inches of snow by then and I don't think snow tires had been invented yet,
The thrill of the ride is hard to forget, as the old brown car was not a jet,
Snow covered the highway, with ice slick below, Dad clung to the wheel, mom screamed for a tow.
"Kenneth, be careful, you're going too fast, You missed the turn off, you slid right on past!
There's ice on the road, is that a deer? Stop the car now, let us off here!"
Dad's concentration was on the car he was in, he seemed unnerved by mother's din.
In fact sometimes it seemed to me, the grin on his face was one of glee.
As our car skidded and teased the ditches, Mom's shriek's rose to new found pitches.
I really believe dad enjoyed the drive, especially when the car would slide.
When at last we slid down the lane, it was truly as if our Christmas had came.
The evergreens were covered all glistening white, our headlights making them crystal bright.
The branches were heavy and hung very low, creating a tunnel for our car to go.
The darkness ahead was made bright as day, where our headlights shined, showing the way.
As we slid to a stop, mom was gripping the seat, her hair was undone and not very neat,
And her fingers were blue and cramped pretty tight, dad turned off the lights we stepped out to the night.
The dear little house always seemed to say 'come' we ran quickly inside to see everyone,
Our aunties and uncles and cousins galore, and dear little grandma stood by the door,
To make sure she got her share of hugs, while the big people passed those 'Kool-Aid' jugs.
Grandma looked so pretty, her face had a shine, her family all home, it's Christmas time.
Back in the corner of the front room, (we kids filled the center), The Christmas tree stood in its homemade splendor,
With paper chains, and tin can twists, little foil balls, not a single branch missed.
Tinfoil icicles shimmering bright, brought magic to this special night.
At the top of the tree, way up so far, Majestically rested the Christmas Star.
Colorful packages under the tree, were they for you? Were they for me?
Everyone talking at the same time, It's Christmas you know, so its just fine.
Grandma made turkey with all the trimmings. And we ate our fill like we did on Thanksgiving.
The big people laughed and hugged a lot, drank more 'Kool-Aid' and sometimes they fought.
But to us kids it was the best time of year, Snow outside and the family all here.
When we kids were so tired we slept where we fell, they bundled us up for the ride from hell.
There were lots of hills on the way home, and our old, bald tires wanted to roam.
We slid and spun and turned sideways in the road, our dear old car hopped like a toad!
Dear mother screamed all the way, dad just smiled, boys like to play.
When at last we finally got home, mother swore she'd never more roam,
Out in the snow to go anywhere, Christmas could wait till the streets were bare.
A sigh of relief escaped her blue lips, as she gave dad more driving tips.
We all ran inside and dad stoked the fire, poor mother looked as if she'd expire.
She put on the coffee, and kissed us goodnight, we put on our nightie's and turned out the light,
Then we hurried to bed so Santa would come, it was cold in there and we froze our bum.
And try as we may we couldn't sleep, but stayed quiet as we could and tried not to peek.
Above my bunk, dad had made a little window, so heat could circulate above and below.
And what were the two older girls to do, when baby sister who was just about two,
Had fallen asleep, and we could not, being so eager to see what Santa had brought.
We resisted a while, but then heard a clatter, so quietly peeked to see what was the matter,
And what to our wondering eyes should appear, two jolly elves wearing mom and dad's gear.
And what do you think they used for a sleigh? Two shiny new bikes they pushed away,
Right into the front room where our Christmas Tree stood, did Santa think we'd been 'THAT' good?
We held our breath as we watched this smiggle, then quietly lay down and tried not to giggle.
Sleep wouldn't come, we whispered all night. I think they knew we'd seen the sight.
And if I know them both as well as I think, As they pushed in those bikes they shared a wink.
And now as I look back on that wonderful night, I wonder if they ever got into a fight,
When dad cut that window over my bunk, Knowing we'd peek, I think he thunk.
I know it may be hard to perceive, but he cut that window just before Christmas Eve!