Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I remember Christmas eve

I came from a fairly large family. There were six of us kids, two boys and four girls.
We moved a lot because of my father's job, but we spent a lot of time living in Vermont. I remember one Christmas eve, very late a night, I was looking out the window at the pristine snow. The street lights sort of made everything glow like a fairyland. The many shaped crystals fell gently to dust the already foot of snow on the ground. I got a feeling, it's hard to describe. Amazement, wonder, the beauty of it touched my heart. Someone special had made a fairy land and I was there to see it.
I'd done the same thing dozens of times on Christmas eve. That special quiet time would always come to mind when I think of Christmas. It's a special gift, something so beautiful it always brings tears to my eyes.
Late at night, everyone else was asleep but me. I touched my finger to the ice on the window and blew on it to make a fog. Then I drew a star on the window, it faded rapidly.
Then inside the star I saw something just a bit odd. There was a figure walking down the covered streets. It was a large bulky figure covered from head to toe to keep warm. I knew it was a man, it had to be. He carried a large bag over his shoulder, and no he didn't look like Santa. From the bay window in the front of the house I knew I could see better. So I quietly walked to the living room and pressed myself against the window. At first I couldn't see him well, the swirling windblown snow dimmed my view. Eventually he walked past the front of my house and I got a better look.
Suddenly he looked up and saw me. I was scared at first, and then he gave me a little wave and stopped. He lowered his bag to the ground and just stood there looking at me, cocking his head to the side as if he was thinking. Then he reached into the bag and lifted something out. He laid it on the soft snow and gestured to tell me it was mine. Now my parents had always told us to beware of strangers so I was a little scared to go out there alone. After a few minutes he picked up his bag, gave me a wave and shook as if he was laughing. Then he continued on down the street. I didn't see him stop anywhere else. He just walked down the road and I watched until the darkness and snow obliterated him from my view.
Immediately I ran to my room and woke my younger sister JoAnn. It took a minute to clue the dingbat in. But when she woke up enough to understand, she ran to the front window with me to look. We could see something in the snow, it was a bag and it was moving slightly. I told my sister to stay in the window and watch me, while I ran out in my nightgown and bare feet in the snow, to see what it could be. Gosh it was cold on my feet, but I can't say as it bothered me much. I was too interested in what was in the bag. I grabbed the string of the bag and made it back into the house in record time.
JoAnn was at the front door when I came back in. We were both so scared and excited we could hardly contain ourselves. My sister opened the bag so quickly I got a bit annoyed. I found it, I should have opened it. But that was all forgotten as she pulled a furry bundle from the bag. It was a kitten, small, mewing, warm and alive. I don't think I have ever been so amazed, because our mom and dad had just told us we were going to look for a pet cat. The calico furry kitten immediately began to purr as I held it close.
We must have made enough noise to wake my mother because she walked up to us and asked if we were okay? JoAnn tried to hide the kitten, but somehow I knew it would be okay with my mother. So I held it out to her and she took it. She brought it to her nose to smell the clean scent of a baby cat. I think God must make baby things smell good so that our hearts are drawn to them. Ever smell a human newborn baby, it's pure heaven. My mother is such a kind and loving soul, and to watch her hug the kitten, touched a place deep inside me.
Finally she asked where I got it and I told her. She laughed and then asked where I really got it. I had to swear to her and my mother still looked at me with the, yeah right look. It was when she said we could keep it that the tears leaked from the corners of my eyes. You have to take care of it she told me. And I agreed, while my sister giggled her happiness. It was so odd that my mom had just told us we could get a cat, and viola a kitten. I have to admit it was a weird way to get a cat and God only knows who the man with the sack was. I thought he was an angel, my sister Jo'ann went for the, it had to be one of Santa's elves.
We had that special cat for fifteen years, she was smart, handsome and most of all lovable and gentle. No matter what my baby brother did to her she just laid there. The best cat we ever had.
So now I had the picture perfect snow scene, and a miracle to remember. Every Christmas it will mesmerize me with the memory of that kitten for the rest of my life.
I never told anyone because it scared me a little, but how did that man know we were going to get a kitten, and who the heck was he? The really strange thing was that when I looked behind him as I watched the man walk away. There were no footsteps in the trail he walked, none.
So we named her Jeepers, as in jeepers creepers, cause it was so weird how we got her. She was the best cat we ever had, equally loved by us all.

Then imagine looking at a living room filled with toys and gifts for six kids. And little miracle of life to love on top of the pile. Merry Christmas to you and may you find your kitten in the snow.