Christmas time was always special and the family loved to gather together for all kinds of celebrations of the time. It was a magical time for us kids as our parents and grandparents did everything possible to make the holiday special for us. The family and extended family all got along very well and there was none of that kind of behavior where you could not invite some parts of the family as they did not like other parts etc. We all loved each other and that was very obvious.
Our Grandmothers and mom went out of their way to make things us boys loved for Christmas. We are talking about eatable things here like pie, cake, cookies etc you get the idea. Boys have a bottomless pit when in comes to things like that, and our grandma’s could bake like nobodies business.
My grandma Bea lived just down the street from our house. She was a lot like a second mom to us. She always made a special apple spice cake with creamy frosting each Christmas. Her house was filled with the smell of this wonderful creation each year and we looked forward to gorging ourselves on it. We had it every year.
One year however, grandma Bea was very sick and confined to bed during the Christmas season. No cake this year that was for sure. I was attending college and did not know my grandmother was that sick. We visited with her during Christmas as she could not make or come to any of the other dinners. We did all we could to make her Christmas as good as we could under the circumstances.
After Christmas as I was getting ready to go back to college on the train, my dad just before we left for the station suggested that I go say goodbye to Grandma Bea. When I got to her house she was in bed, but asked me to go to the kitchen to get a package for me. When I got there sure enough she had managed to get out of bed long enough to make me that wonderful apple spice cake. She had wrapped it all up in an old pillow case and it was still warm to the touch and of course the smell was heavenly. I thanked her and of course said, she should not have gotten out of bed just to do that but that I appreciated what she did and would enjoy the cake on my train trip back to college.
My mother had prepared a thermos of chocolate milk for me to have with the cake and off I went on the train. The train pulled away from the station and I could see my mom and dad waving goodbye to me as we chugged down the tracks. Somewhere along the way, I smelled that wonderful cake and took a little taste. That is when I had an epiphany. I really realized how loved I was. Unrestrained, unrestricted, unabashed love. I knew for sure that my parents and grandparents loved me. I knew for sure that I would never do anything in my life that would cause pain to my grandma’s or parents. How could I ever betray the love and sacrifice they had shown to me?
Those feelings and reassurance of that apple spice cake day have stayed with me for the rest of my life. It is not the big expensive gifts that we remember, it is the seemingly small gestures like this one that mean so much more as time goes by.
By the way grandma Bea did recover and lived many more years and helped raise my oldest daughter.
May we all remember and have much love for each other this Christmas season is my prayer for you all.