Okay, I guess the title of this posting could go either way, depending how much you want to read into it. And after looking back, recalling what my family and I went through out of these three Christmases, this first tale was somewhat humorous.
Ah, Christmases: some good, some bad, some downright nightmarish.
Let me first say that when we left our home to travel to our vacation log home in Highlands, N.C. (The one I used in my first mystery, The Puzzle) we were upbeat and excited for the holidays. Our log home was cozy, deep in the forest, and remote with spectacular views of the mountains and valley below. I had visions of toasting marshmallows, baking cookies, sledding, ice-skating, searching out that perfect Christmas tree, and decorating it with my family in front of a roaring fire.
The road trip there would be a breeze. We were jam-packed with our clothes and wrapped gifts in our Jeep Cherokee. But then my husband and I saw the ornament box still sitting in the driveway. Having run out of room inside the Jeep, my husband and I both eyed the luggage rack on the roof. We could put our Christmas ornaments in the large box strapped to it! Brilliant! It worked! Finally, we were on our way!
I had packed sandwiches and drinks so we wouldn’t be slowed down except for gas and bathroom breaks for our three young boys. Cruising on 85 northbound I heard some giggling and a lot of whispers from the backseat. I turned to see what all the commotion was about. Our boys were waving out the window at the passing cars. I then looked out the window too. People were waving. How nice!
My husband turned briefly to look and waved back. “Boy, they sure are friendly here in the South, aren’t they?” he said, grinning. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Well, this kept up for a few miles, people passing and waving, but then I noticed one woman drew alongside us and was pointing, first at us then behind us.
“Why is she pointing?” I asked. “Is our tire going flat? Did we hit something?”
My husband glanced at her again. “Hey, it looks like she pointing to our roof.”
Then everything clicked in place. I yelled, “Stop the car!”
After pulling to the side of the road, we all jumped out to have a look. Our large box of ornaments had blown open in the back, exposing the tightly packed ornaments for my not-yet-bought Christmas tree. I turned to look behind us and spotted one of them laying far out on the highway right before an eighteen-wheeler ran over it. My husband and I both jumped on the running board of the Jeep. Apparently, several of our ornaments were scattered between Atlanta and where we were now parked on the side of the highway. My children were staring at me, knowing mixed in with those ornaments were ornaments from when I was little just like them and cherished every Christmas, smiling each time I hooked them on our tree for Christmas. I had no idea if they were still in there. Teary-eyed, I pasted on a smile and said, “Well, it’s a good thing there is a Christmas store in downtown Highlands. We’ll pick out special ones to add to our collection for new memories. I hope you guys will find some special ones.”
My husband took down the box off the roof. Then the boys dragged it into the jeep and across their laps, refusing to let it go. I got it. Great minds thought alike. Why temp fate twice? Setting aside sentimental value, I knew things could be replaced, but not the people I loved. I smiled. “I am truly blessed.”
P.S. After checking that night, I found I didn’t lose any of my old ones.
Next up: a 2nd Christmas tale. I swear fate played a role in it. To be continued…