When I was about 11, it was Christmas Eve, and it started snowing. Not "spitting snow" as my mother used to say, but a sure fire full-blown snowfall. Big beautiful white flakes tumbling down faster than you could say, "ah". I just loved snow, and on Christmas Eve? Perfect. I noticed down in the lower field, the kids were out slay riding, so I trotted myself down there. We had a tire burning, and the hood of someones pickup. We would start at the top of the hill, and everyone hop in, and away we went. It was cold as hell, but we didn't care. At the bottom, we pulled the thing up and did it all over again. I had a huge crush on a neighbor of mine, will call him Johnny, and of course I was at my liveliest, hoping he would notice me, single me out a little bit, but we just enjoyed the 3 minute ride down the hill, and warming up at the fire, when we climbed back to the top.
It grew darker, so we all headed home. I had to walk a good ways down a dirt lane as our house was a little farther. I just looked at the snow, gathering on the green pines, and the icicles hanging from the roof of the house. My feet were like ice, but I knew once inside the house, I could prop them up near the fire and they would warm up in no time. I was filled with the beauty and joy of Christmas, and wanted those moments to never end. A tall gawkey tomboy, I was, walking through a land of enchantment, feeling a part of the snow and the cold, and deepening twilight. I hated to go inside. I wanted to stay out in the snow, but it got colder, and my feet were numb they were so cold, so I reluctantly went inside.
The Christmas tree was all lit up, a few presents under the tree, and my sister and I made cocoa from scratch. You put some cocoa in a pan, slowly add milk and sugar, and heat it till every thing mixes together. It was marvelous. No microwaves, no boxes of Swiss Miss with marshmellows, just the old-fashioned home made cocoa. My mom was thawing out the turkey, and would get up early to stick the old bird in our old gas range. It all seemed so magical. At that moment, I didn't think about what we didn't have, only about how much we did have, and how truly fortunate we were.
Our old house was not so old anymore. The living room aglow with the light from the tree, turned our worn out furniture into something new and beautiful. It was magic. And the snowfall outside, the absolute quiet, nothing but the fire in the old gas heater, to break the spell. We always had to read the Christmas story, my sister and I, and sing carols. And of course we waited up for my dad, hoping he would make it home for Christmas. We knew he would bring oranges and apples, a coconut, walnuts, and hard candy. Such contentment, anticipation, and all that beautiful snow. A Christmas Eve I will always remember.