Another Day in the Country

The best holiday ever

© Another Day in the Country

When our family suffered divorce, I thought that the holidays had been ruined forever. Nothing was the same. Everything had to be re-established, reformed, and remade. Traditions were destroyed. I worked hard — I’ll speak for myself, while I know that everyone in the immediate family worked on it — as we tried valiantly to have normal holidays but it just didn’t work. There was always a hole. It wasn’t just a hole that a husband left, it was more than that. It was a hole of ideals, the hole of hope, the hole of “the way it’s always been” after it was not anymore, even if the former had not really been a piece of cake. You understand my meaning?

The big “D” happened officially in 1990 while the dirty work had done years before. So, since then, our holiday time was suspect. I wanted the holidays to be happy. I planned things, vacations, surprises, gifts, fancy restaurants, and quaint getaways, all to no avail. Holidays were OK; you just had to work a them. Until this year.

I’m not even sure how it happened, this perfection. Maybe my sights were lower, my standards shifted, my list smaller. Who knows? However, these were the best holidays ever. We’re talking they don’t get any better than this, and it happened in Ramona.

My daughter and my grandson were coming in and staying until New Year’s. That I knew, so I began decorating the house in anticipation. When I say decorating I mean this house began to look like we were on the annual Christmas Tours that they have in Marion. I pulled out all the stops. Soon there was a tree of some kind in every room. Everything took on a rosy glow, and the electric meter just purred.

When their arrival time rolled around, we were ready. Jess had even added special touches to the outside of the house with extra bows on my Charlie Brown tree and reindeer lights up and down the walks. We looked festive!

The bedroom where they sleep had a family tree with pictures of family members past and present, white lights and tinsel. The flannel sheets with little rosebuds were on the bed, dove soap in the bathroom, along with fluffy new towels.

In the kitchen, there was a new box of Lucky Charms, their favorite cereal, sitting beside the raisin bran, my favorite, and several little boxes of holiday flavored hot chocolate. There were cookies in the cookie jar and all kinds of flavored yogurt and milk in the fridge. We were ready.

Since this was the first time they would be with us on Christmas Day, I wanted this vacation to be special for them.

“Maybe we should do a quick trip to Branson?” I said to my sister before they arrived. “A surprise.”

Jess shook her head.

Jana said, “You know what Dagfinnr has been looking forward to — ever since we got the tickets — is landing at your house. That is it. His great excitement is to be in Ramona and not trekking off somewhere.”

Therefore, we did not go anywhere, and this turned out to be the best holiday ever.

We made a list, a calendar of sorts, to include all the things we could think of that we wanted to do. We did them and then some. It seemed that every day there was something to explore — simple things like the ice on the pond, which had frozen into perfect crystals about 2 inches long and would break apart into long thin individual crystals if you hit it just right with a rock. There was the adding machine that spit out numbers on a long paper tape, which made giving tickets or bills or play money to whoever was present n the house so much fun. There were cookies we baked to give away, so many that they covered a table in the art room, which became known as the cookie room for almost a week with powdered sugar dusting all over the tablecloth and a number of cookies to snitch and eat between meals. We played games, filling up a whole tablet with our accumulated scores, and laughed until we were weak in the knees and gasping, recounting stories and remembering.

And then it snowed! Not just once, but twice. Snow that was too dry for making snowmen at first, but perfect for sledding if you were pulled behind Tim’s truck, which we were until we were so cold that smiles were frozen on our faces. This wasn’t just another day in the county my friends. It was the best holiday ever!

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