When Elizabeth and Kate were growing up, the holidays were an exciting change from the usual ordinary events of life. Most of their year was spent in the routine and mundane course of things. School, church, and home occupied their lives. Daddy went off to work while Mother tended to the home front.
The holidays were often spent with their Grandparents, but because their Paternal Grandmother Annie was Mother to 12 children, she and Grandpa Eddie chose to spend their holidays rotating around from one adult child’s home to the next. This was how they liked it, because as their children grew up, a number of them moved to cities in distant states. Some of their children settled near them, and one was Elizabeth’s and Kate’s Dad.. Elizabeth and Kate had the advantage of seeing them regularly because their house was on the other side of a stand of woods that separated the two homes. The girls often ran over a well worn path that wove through the woods and opened onto a large field. As they came to the open field, they could see Grandpa and Grandma’s house on the far side, with the path continuing through this field to their house. It was fun to be able to run the path between the two houses and see them anytime they chose.. But, at Christmas, Grandpa Eddie and Grandma Annie were usually visiting their children who had moved away, choosing a different one to visit from year to year.
This left Anita and her family free to go and spend Christmas with her parents, Grandma Esther and Grandpa Artie. Elizabeth and Kate, couldn’t wait to go to their Grandparents house on the holidays.
Anita’s parents lived 7 miles down a country road from her home, and for the girls, it was exciting to go on that ride to their Grandparents house. The darkness of the woods, the sparkling lights of the stars in the dark sky, and sometimes a bright moon would light the road ahead. The heavens looked enormous to their young eyes, and the world looked very mysterious from the back seat as they peered out the back window watching the road disappear behind them.
Sometimes the moon would be so bright their Dad would turn off the headlights of their old car and drive down the moonlit road, amidst the protestations of their Mother. Dad would say, “Stop your fussing, Anita….Just let go and feel the magic of the night”. At this point she would become quiet and allow herself to take it all in. The mystery pf the night was enhanced by the shimmering moonlight reflecting off the banks of snow on either side of the country road. She had to admit…it was beautiful.
As they crested the final hill on the road to Grandpa and Grandmas, they could see a golden glow emitting from a Christmas star which was attached to the front porch of their small house. In the darkness of the night, the soft light of his five pointed star could be seen from a long way off. It seemed like an official welcome especially for them inviting them into the warmth of their home. They were eager to enjoy the enticing scents and flavors of Grandma Esther’s Christmas dinner. Grandpas star brought to their minds thoughts of the original Christmas star over Bethlehem. Elizabeth and Kate tried to imagine themselves as Shepherds or Wise Men viewing it for the first time so very long ago and so far away in a foreign land and they became quiet as they contemplated what it must have been like to live in those Ancient times and to experience that very first Christmas. Grandpa’s star…the symbol of that first star that appeared over Bethlehem.
As they entered the house, they took off their coats and hung up them up before they gave Grandpa and Grandma a big hug. Elizabeth and Kate immediately ran into the living room to see the tree with the many presents beneath. They didn’t know which they loved more, the heap of beautifully wrapped Christmas presents beneath the tree, or the colorful tree lights. They loved Grandpa and Grandma’s tree with all the antique Christmas ornaments and the beautifully lit bubble lights, all surrounded by a coat of shimmering tinsel. Magic was the word for Christmas on that night. Everything seemed magical….everything! So much about their Grandparents home was different from their own, including the Christmas tree. Elizabeth and Kate loved the tree that Dad and Mom had put up with the big multicolored bulbs and a coat of tinsel, but they liked Grandpa and Grandmas tree better because it had bubble lights. They loved laying on their tummies on the floor where they could reach in and tip the delicate glass candles full of colored fluid if it had no bubbles inside.
One by one they tipped the candles upside down, until a bubble would form and then float, followed by several others, up the shaft to the top. The light in the bottom created enough heat to cook the liquid which was how the bubble formed, much like when Mom was boiling water on the stove. They tipped every one they could find that had no bubbles inside to get them started. Elizabeth and Kate became completely engrossed in yet another lovely moment of Christmas. Presents! They loved the glow of the lights on the shiny gifts below the tree as they perused the name tags searching for the ones with their names.Soon, they could hear their Mother calling them in to dinner, so they immediately got up and went into the festively decorated room with the beautifully and bountifully set table.
They knew the presents were not opened until after dinner, and they didn’t want to waste one moment in getting to the main event at Grandma’s!!! Bubbles in the glass candles and the bubbles felt in their tummies added to the excitement of the holiday. Elizabeth and Kate loved all kinds of bubbles for it usually meant something wonderful was about to happen.