Remembering Christmas: A Special Couple
Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest Office, IL
In my child’s view, the family Christmas Eve celebration never really began until Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle George arrived. They lit up the house with cheer and laughter. That was a special gift they shared. They made me feel as if I were the only person in the room as I told them about achievements or failures in school or outside activities, and their praise and encouragement felt genuine and personal to my young heart.
Aunt Elizabeth was my dad’s elder sister. She and Uncle George made a handsome couple, each with a full crown of white hair. Their farm was on the edge of town, and we visited frequently. If she knew we were coming, two of her famous apple pies would be cooling on the windowsill by nine in the morning, one for them and one for us. One of my last memories of their farm was the time they invited my cousin, sister, and me to have a sleepover at their house. We caught lightning bugs in their front yard, which was surrounded on three sides by maturing corn fields, and we got up early the next morning to collect eggs in the chicken house.
After Uncle George and Aunt Elizabeth retired and sold the farm, it was rare to see one without the other. Since my aunt never learned to drive, my uncle chauffeured her wherever she needed to go. (Ladies, you can imagine the disruption that would cause our families today.) This meant that shopping—from groceries to Christmas presents—was a dual endeavor. Somehow, they managed to make their small, practical gifts special and personal for each recipient.
Years earlier, Uncle George had been mayor of our community and maintained an interest in politics throughout life. He lacked higher education but possessed an abundance of common sense. He continued to read the daily newspaper cover to cover and could converse on most topics of the day. I relished our stimulating discussions as an adult.
Spiritual things were hard to talk about, however. Culturally, they were entrenched in a mainline denomination and didn’t grasp the need for a personal relationship with Christ. I was down with a bad cold when Uncle George was on his death bed, but my dear husband, Brian, had an opportunity to share Christ with him in a way that captured his attention. And I had the blessing of helping to care for Aunt Elizabeth during her last weeks of life. She wouldn’t respond when I shared the truth with her, but she listened.
I so hope I see them in heaven. I want to thank them again for the Christmas—and life—blessings they poured into me.