Sometimes the greatest Christmas gifts come wrapped in mishap and disaster.
the title of this article intends no disrespect to those of you out there busily sewing matching Christmas outfits for the children while the hand-rolled-and-cut sugar cookies cool enough to ice. In fact, there is nothing wrong with your amazingly uniform thumbprint cookies, and if you show up at my house with a handwoven basket full of your perfect confections, I promise to put the kettle on!
What I do remember is how we laughed like crazy when the water heater gave out the day after Christmas and eight people crammed into a tiny chaotic house had to take cold showers. "Probably all St. Joseph got in the stable," my dad quipped. Next there was the emergency trip to the pediatrician’s when the five year-old mysteriously came out in hives. Aunt Barbara, a nurse, accompanied me there and suggested many possible diagnoses, none particularly comforting. She had seen this before! The verdict turned out to be an allergic reaction to the brandy on the fruitcake the children were not supposed to be served. I told my aunt I was shocked that my little one could have gotten into the cake and served herself while we were sleeping. It seemed so unlikely. I still remember the mischievous laughter in my aunt’s eye’s as she realized, "OOPS! Sorry kiddo, it was me! I am not used to being around little kids and it never occurred to me not to give her some." Overcome by our lively appreciation for the absurd, we laughed till we cried. And what a laugh Aunt Barbara had! I would pay money to hear that again!
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