I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know…
Living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, one could always depend on a white Christmas. Between the lake effect snow and drifting winds, it was not unusual to wake up without being able to see out of any first-floor windows. Despite what my siblings may claim today, the primary responsibility for shoveling the sidewalk fell unto my narrow shoulders. I will admit, it was particularly disheartening to open the front porch door to a sold wall of frozen white. It then became necessary to first shovel the snow into the porch to create a path to daylight. Once the road was reached, all of that snow had to be removed from the porch and carried laboriously back outside and deposited into the street. After that monumental task was completed, I could take off my hat, scarf, snowsuit and galoshes to sit down to a hearty breakfast of cheerios (with three added spoonfuls of sugar) and chocolate milk (made from Nestle Quik because that left the tastiest sludge at the bottom of the glass). Then it was only a short wait until the city’s snowplows (each one roughly the size of an armored personnel carrier) came around. Invariably, they would push all the snow back over my newly-dug path to start the process all over again. Because of this, I was only the tender age of eleven when I first learned to sigh like a depression-era farmer with nothing in his hand but a broom as he watches a dust storm roll in across the horizon.
Where the treetops glisten, and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow…
Kids don’t listen for sleigh bells anymore. They have an app for that.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write…
Christmas cards? It’s all Facebook nowadays. My wife and I used to always send out a Christmas letter every year to keep
our far-off friends current on the milestones in the lives of our family: Daniel started kindergarten, Jack continues to enjoy playing with his Legos, Jason directed Oklahoma! and Kim is still teaching eighth grade. Now, we just don’t seem to have the time or figure that thanks to social media anyone who wants to know what we’re up to already does. Yet, I got a Christmas card yesterday from an old high school buddy; and I was excited just to see his name on the return address. Inside was the basic family portrait, everyone looked clear-eyed and healthy. For some reason, holding it in my fingers instead of seeing it on a screen made me linger a bit longer where normally I might just scroll by to the next post. This was something he had touched, the signature was from his hand. I took a moment to reflect back upon our friendship, the times we had together. In my mind, I mapped out where our paths had crossed, run alongside each other, then split up as we followed where life intended us to go. As things go, it was a small gesture perhaps, but it was real nonetheless. And it’s something I wish I would have done.
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white…
White is a very symbolic color in our culture. Normally, it represents purity when used with the stripes of our flag, a christening gown or wedding dress. A white dove means peace, and the good guys always wear white hats. Most would say for this carol it means a landscape covered in new fallen snow. As a fledgling writer, I like to think it refers to a blank piece of paper ready to be written on with all the laughs and tears a year can bring. It’s a symbol of renewal. Our future lives wait to be etched on its surface, and with them will come new triumphs and tragedies. By next year, I expect it to be stained with mud tracked in from April’s rains, curled up on the edges from July’s humidity and full of imprints of pressed October’s leaves. Each mark will represent a memory, and once it becomes so covered there isn’t space for any more, a new one will take its place. Through this blog, dear readers, I hope to tell you all about it.
Or better yet, perhaps next year I’ll mail you a Christmas letter.