OKLA. CITY —
A perfect Christmas for me must include at least one glittering, all’s-right-with-my-world moment to hide away in my heart with these three perfect Christmas moments I’m bringing out to share with you.
Surely my family had decorated a tree before I was three-and-a -half, but that’s the first one I remember — no more than 3-feet high, a classic Charlie Brown that I watched my dad nail crossed boards together and then to its stub so it could stand upright on a table. I’m there again as that memory unfolds:
Mom carefully drapes silver ice cycles over spindly branches while my sister and I throw them by the handful in the tree’s general direction, believing the results to be lovely. But the glittering moment comes Christmas morning when I wake to the remarkable metamorphosis mother’s hands have wrought upon that tree in the night. Each strip of tinsel cascades as it was intended to do, and little long-tailed, silver-bodied birds reflect the colors of flashing wicks atop bubbling electric candles attached upright. Santa has doubtless come in the night, but it’s the glittering tree moment I remember.
My jumble of glittering Christmas moments comes so fast it’s hard to choose just one, so I’ll share a myriad of moments that occurred on my seventh Christmas. I’m standing in a dry Vancouver, B.C., snowfall catching snowflakes on my tongue when a Scottish bagpipe parade in full kilt crosses the bridge in cadence. We’re on our way to attend the children’s ward Christmas party at St. Paul’s Hospital, where the children will be wearing pink or aqua crepe paper hats with gold seals, and the nuns will give my sister and me little black candle-powered lanterns and mother-of-pearl fountain pens.
Before we leave, two of the ward’s children will sing “Bonny Banks O’Loch” but glittering Christmas moments aren’t always that easy to come by, and occasionally they don’t come at all. Still, you have to keep looking, or what’s Christmas for? Flash forward 20 years. I’m a single mother with two little boys. It’s Christmas and my dad is in my care, convalescing from the same October accident that left mom in a body cast at St. Anthony’s Hospital. Two months in a body cast is a very long time. I vowed she would not spend Christmas alone.
Christmas Eve I loaded the car with a small tree, the boys’ gifts, a basket packed with the feast I’d prepared, my dad, his wheelchair and my two boys, and we set out on the two-hour drive to an Oklahoma City hotel where I’d reserved rooms. I’ll never forget the expression on mother’s face that Christmas morning when she looked past the traction contraption that held her leg together and saw the four of us walking into her hospital room.
That’s the stuff glittering Christmas memories are made of. My prayer is that we all find our one perfect moment again on this year’s holiest of all days.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.