My Christmas Story

Merry Christmas and Ho! Ho! Ho!
To Colorado we will go!
But in Dallas we're stuck,
Much to our bad luck,
We couldn't leave 'cuz of the snow.


Yes, that brilliant little limerick sums up nearly half of my Christmas vacation time.  But for those of you who want the brutal details, I will put my flair for poetry aside, and enlighten you further with my prose.  It all began seven days ago.  I was nervous about traveling anyway for several reasons.  (1) It would be my first Christmas away from my family, and instead I would spend the holiday with my husband's family, some of whom I had only ever met briefly.  (2) The last time I was in Colorado, I became desperately sick (due to the altitude) and my future mother-in-law had the distinct pleasure of cleaning up all my lovely bodily functions.  And (3) we were bringing our puppy, Hugo, who would spend a total of 7 hours (with a brief stop in Dallas) in a little carrier, pushed under the seat in front of me.  But, despite my misgivings, I found myself at 32,000 feet, with Hugo sound asleep, and I soon followed him.  


We reached Dallas without incident.  Hugo hadn’t made a peep, and as soon as we got to the airport, I put a “wee-wee pad” down for him, and he went immediately.  “Good boy!” Ryan and I cheered.  This trip was going so smoothly, no bumps in the road.  I put Hugo on his leash, and we all walked toward our gate.  The next leg of the trip was the easy one.  It was much shorter and Ryan’s parents would pick us up at the other end.   


And then we saw it.  The word every air-traveler hates to see.  A word that brings doom to the hearts of anyone who wants to see their family on a holiday.  C-A-N-C-E-L-L-E-D.  It was with shock that we talked to the woman at the gate, who sent us to the ticketing line, who directed us to a phone number we needed to call, who told us to get back in the ticketing line.  So there we stood, and our options were bleak.  The next available flight was Christmas Eve, due to “The Storm of the Century” that was taking place in Colorado.  That was 4 days away, and we were flying back on Christmas Day anyway.  “No problem,” the helpful ticketing agent on the phone had said.  “We can change your return flight as well!”  Ryan had to kindly inform the man, who apparently had never heard of a job with a limited number of vacation days, that that was impossible.  Our other option was to get right back on the plane and fly back to LaGuardia in two hours.  Two hours later, however, we had moved 10 feet in the ticketing line, with still another 30 feet to go.  We weren’t going home that night.


After another hour of discussion and frustration, any option looked better than standing in line another minute!  We decided to rent a car and drive the 10 hours to Colorado Springs.  Why we thought driving into a blizzard was a good idea, I don't know.  Our minds had been fuzzied by the airport bureaucracy.


At first the trip was exciting.  Hugo is good in the car, and I enjoyed that we had more freedom than in an airplane.  But after driving the first 10 hours in Texas, then into New Mexico, then back into Texas, then detoured off main roads because of snow and ice, then driving on roads full of snow and ice anyway, then finally onto the interstate that brought us through the mountains and into Colorado, I had seen more of southwestern America than I ever want to again, or indeed ever did in the first place.




By the time we reached New Mexico for the second time, Hugo was going crazy.  You know how you look when you start hearing voices in your head?  You know how it's hard to hear one because they are all shouting at you at the same time?  Well, that's how Hugo was looking.  I could practically hear the voices myself!  We couldn't take him out, because, being only 3 pounds, he would be toppled into the snow by the wind.  And he was tired of sleeping.  Ryan was stressed, and I was miserable.  But finally, after a grueling 18 hours, we made it.


The relief and joy of seeing Ryan's family was magnified in my mind, because of the harrowing journey we experienced.  The snow then seemed a blessing, instead of a curse, as I gazed out their windows at it and at the majesty of the mountains beyond.  Then I remembered the reason we had travelled all this way to spend Christmas with our loved ones.  The Reason all this majesty graced the land before me, and the Reason all the gifts were piled beneath the tree.  And I was overjoyed.



"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed."

Matthew 2:10

~ by Amy on December 27, 2006.

One Response to “My Christmas Story”

  1. Amy, Even though I heard most of this last night, it was still good reading! I especially appreciated the map. You really did get to see Texas a few times, didn’t you? Also, I had not focused on the trouble that Hugo could have been, but he’s a pretty good little guy! You did not say either last night or here what the airline has since told you they were going to do for you. Do you know yet?
    PS Who or what is “dark”?

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