My dear Brett:
I hope that you knew, at least in part, what I would write in response to your request. That, because I long ago successfully conveyed to you, your brother and sisters what Christmas means to me, you would anticipate my response. Thank you for asking.
Christmas...my wonderful, loving Grandmother Oakes...she with the incredibly warm and infectious laugh...the pies that she so lovingly created, making sure that at least one of everyone's favorites was lined up on her kitchen cabinet.
Christmas...your father rushed by ambulance to the hospital on December 22 due to a bleeding ulcer...I being awakened the next morning by labor pains preceding arrival of our first baby girl on December 23...Grandparents and friends willingly chipping in to make Christmas happen for the two "big" brothers at home...a nurse appearing in the doorway to my hospital room with that beautiful new miracle snuggled in a red Christmas stocking...Lloyd and I opening gifts one at a time and sharing the nature of the contents over the telephone, from separate hospital rooms...Lloyd meeting his new daughter six days after her birth as she and mom left for home, and he remained in the hospital.
Christmas...Christmas Eve spent with Grandmother and Granddad Leveridge, assorted aunts, uncles and cousins...Christmas morning arrives at last and finds Tony, Brett, Kim and Julie happily enjoying a beautiful wood burning fire in the den of our new, custom-built home.
Christmas...and then there were four...four giddy, beautiful children...shopping with Mom, one at a time, at the large TG&Y dime store located a few blocks from our home as they painstakingly and lovingly chose gifts for each other, and for their mom and dad.
Christmas...four cases of chickenpox all nestled in Mom and Dad's king-sized bed to better prevent each child from feeling neglected...and to simplify the applications of Calamine lotion. Now, that was a Christmas!
Christmas...pleading with my mom and dad to please spend the holidays in our home in order for us to share that very special day with them, without having to make at least one extra trip to their home in Okemah in order to retrieve all the gifts...that had happened one year!
Christmas...the late night telephone call alerting us to the sudden loss of Dad/Granddad Leveridge...just hours after the annual celebration of the birth of the Christ Child.
Christmas...the wondrous miracle of sharing a very special Christmas with our first grandchild...fifteen-day-old, beautiful, red-haired Larissa.
Christmas...then there were seven...the always distinctive blessings of this special time of year had become almost indescribable...Robert, Matthew, Eric, Kayla, Amanda and Jerrod came...one by one...into our lives.
Christmas...the one time in each year when almost everyone seems happier and more content, reflected by their smiles, their optimism, their laughter, their caring and their sharing.
Christmas...thank God for this day filled with resplendent beauty.
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