Nevada, United States of Ameri
Christmas Without Mama
Christmas of 1944 is a memory I will always treasure. My mother, like many of the mothers of my playmates, worked in a defense factory. The trouble was, she was working in another city from where I lived with my sister, and we only got to see her when she was able to visit occasionally. Being just five years old, I missed my mom with a longing only a youngest child can know.
As Christmas approached, we expected Mama to come home for the holiday. But the weather turned bad and snow and ice covered everything. The roads were so slick the cars crawled. But that's okay, I said to myself, "Mama comes on a bus, and I know they'll get through." But as day after day passed with no sign of Mama, I began to worry. Finally, I asked my sister, eleven years older than me, "When is Mama going to be here?" She hesitated a little, then said, "Well, the busses haven't been able to get through the last couple of days because of the snow storm, so she might not be here for Christmas."
My heart sank. Christmas without Mama just wouldn't be Christmas. When my sister saw my saddened face, she quickly said, "But if there's any way to make it, you know Mama will be here." I tried to keep that thought close to my heart, but "she might not be here for Christmas" kept pushing it away. At night, I cried into my pillow, asking God to please take the storm away so Mama could come home.
Finally, it was Christmas eve. We went to church and heard the choir sing "Silent Night," and "Oh, Holy Night," but by this time, I was having none of it. I didn't feel at all thankful and blessed because Jesus was born, at least he had his Mama! I was both angry and sad. We had not heard any more about Mama being able to come home, and I just knew Christmas Day was going to be miserable.
Christmas morning dawned bright and beautiful, the sunlight glistened and glittered off the ice covered trees. I'd never seen this before, but since I didn't have my mom, I wasn't so impressed with it. My presents were just okay. A new coloring book and crayons, a new doll, a new coat, all were considered to be a pretty good Christmas in those simple times.
As we prepared to sit down to a Christmas dinner of roast chicken, there was a knock on the door. Opening it, we saw our neighbor, Ed Martin standing there with his arms full of presents. And hiding behind him was the best present of all...Mama was home! I grabbed her and couldn't stop laughing and crying.
Later after all the joyous noise had settled a bit, and I was firmly ensconced in Mama's lap, we heard the story of her trip.
The bus she was traveling on slid off the highway and came to rest with a broken axle. Nobody was hurt, just shaken up. Everyone was disappointed and didn't think they'd make it home for Christmas Day.
But the bus driver hailed a passing car and asked him to notify the bus service of their dilemma. The passing car was driven by our neighbor Ed, on his way from picking up his Mom from a nearby town. When he saw my mom, he told her to bring her luggage, he would take her on home. Everyone else took the replacement bus sent by the bus service, but thanks to Ed, Mama made it to us before the new bus got to the other passengers.
Suddenly, the world was such a beautiful place. The sun sparkling off the iced trees looked like a fairyland. The presents I got were so wonderful, and I just knew no other little girl was so happy in all the world. Soon after that I never had to worry about Christmas without Mama again, because the war ended and she was home for good.