Christmas in Caspian, Michigan
As I sit in my living room reminiscing about Christmases celebrated a long time ago (over 55 years ago to be exact), I remember vividly my family shopping, attending mass, decorating the tree, wrapping gifts, and preparing the traditional Christmas meal of homemade ravioli, noodles, and ham. Back then, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, life seemed so different. For example, we would travel from Caspian, where I lived, to Iron River, a distance of around three miles. In those days, traveling to Iron River felt like going to a large city, and it was!
When we traveled to Iron River during Christmas, we would stroll up and down the main street, stopping at various stores to look at toys and other items. Sometimes, we just looked at the displays in the windows. All of the time, we would hope that Santa would bring us the presents that we selected.
Along with the shopping, I remember the streets decorated with Christmas lights and ornaments. Sometimes in our household, money was scarce, and so our celebrations were tepid and had to be adjusted. I remember the time when the kindergarten classroom in the Caspian Elementary School discarded their tree before leaving for the Christmas holiday. Well, that tree, minus a multitude of needles, ended up in the Paul family’s living room. All of us decorated the tree with tinsel, lights, and ornaments; we were so thankful that we had a tree.
As I stated before, money at times was very tight and we had to make things for presents and could not purchase gifts that were priced beyond our means. I remember receiving a sweater from Shwartz’s store in Caspian. My feelings were of disappointment, but no one noticed and those feelings quickly transformed into thankfulness and appreciation for what I had received.
Then came the meal of homemade ravioli. We (my brother, sister, me, Mom, and Dad) would gather around the table to make the ravioli. It took literally hours to complete, and unbeknownst to me, we were creating good memories that would last for my lifetime, and an event that I could pass on to another generation. By that, I mean today we are making raviolis at my son’s home with my two grandchildren. This is with a different twist, as I am making the raviolis in the mold of flying saucers, reindeer, and elephants which the children really enjoy.
Gone are my father, brother, and sister but the memories that we created continue, and with their families as well, because they make ravioli too. Enjoy this Christmas, and future ones as well, because what you do will last long after you are gone.
Remember, it is not about the expense of the gift or even the gift itself. It is about families being together and celebrating the birth of Christ. So, let’s put Christ back in Christmas and from the Dan Paul family to all of you, have a Merry Christmas!
Newspaper article link:
Cries in the Night
“Where’s my mommy?” asked a little 2-1/2 year-old girl through tear-filled eyes and sobs. The grandmother, grandfather, and father wrestled with struggling emotions on how to tell and explain to the child that her mother was with Jesus and that she would not see her again in this life. As they struggled to tell her this, she responded by saying, “Tell Jesus to send her back.” Thus began the on-going explanation of her mother being with Jesus and of God.
They could not tell nor could the little girl comprehend that her mother was killed in an automobile accident by a drunk driver, nor that not only was her mother killed but also the child she was carrying. The girl’s father was badly injured in the accident, and while he was recuperating, he graciously allowed the grandparents to care for the little girl.
Words cannot give justice as to how it tore a huge hole in the fabric of the family, forever altering the course of so many lives in the immediate family, in-laws, friends, and relatives—the dreams, hopes, memories dashed in a split-second, from what could have been to what never will be.
So, it goes for many of us when unexpected life experiences produce so many unintended consequences. We get caught up in the minutia of life, failing to see the big picture of savoring the immediate time together. We are often unaware, oblivious, as to how the unexpected, instantaneous curves in life affect and shape us.
To avoid serious, unintended consequences, we should begin our new year by taking the time to re-evaluate our driving decisions. Driving while texting, talking on cell phones, drinking, being under the influence of drugs, or when tired or exhausted are all choices that may impair or affect judgment. We should commit ourselves to eliminating these potentially hazardous driving habits in our lives. Doing this may have a tremendous positive impact on many lives, including our own.
Today, almost fifty years later, I can still remember those mournful cries in the night. As my eyes begin to well up with tears, I relive the past tragedy and ponder what might have been. So, let us all make positive, meaningful choices in our lives this year and have a Wonderful and Blessed New Year of 2017!
I just read an article in our local paper about a little 2 1/2 year old girl losing her mommy to a drunk driver. Below the article it says to write comments on your web site, I see nowhere to do so. So I am enclosing my comment here to you. You may put it on your web site, or where ever you wish, as I try desperately to make others aware & make them think. (hopefully).
I hope anyone who reads this will take it to heart and also will share it with others to read. Thirty years ago I lost my sister, who was only 20 years old, to a drunk driver. Sadly,the child I was carrying, her nephew, was born that same day, just hours after her accident. She was declared legally dead the same day I brought my baby boy home from the hospital. She went home to heaven, I went home with my new baby boy. She was now free of the pain and suffering of her horrible head injuries. I now sat home trying to figure out how I would deal with my pain & how my entire family would deal with theirs. I too cried many tears, I held my newborn and rocked him mindlessly for hours, I ached inside with an ache that has never left me. My family now was one less. One beautiful soul who brought smiles to all who knew her. We all had to learn how deal as a family with this awful thing that had happened. We all have to deal with the pain each year when her birthday, Christmas, or any other family gathering takes place and she is missing. I have to deal with the nightmare each year on my sons birthday as the memories of getting to the hospital to deliver him and finding out my sister was already there in the E.R. being prepared to go to the trauma center.
So please, read these stories from those of us who know the pain of losing someone to anothers irresponsibility . That pain never leaves. The picture I carry in my mind of the last time I saw my beautiful sister and she patted my huge pregnant belly saying " hurry little baby, your auntie wants to snuggle with you ". That day never came. She never got to see him because one lady chose to drink all day and drive that night.
Please pass this on. Not because me or my family want your sympathy, but because we dont want you to ever feel this pain.-----------