Christmas comes in a variety of manifestations in America. To a child, it can be the anticipation of St. Nick delivering a shiny bicycle or a new doll on Christmas morning. To those of us who have seen a number of Christmas seasons come and go already, it can be the comfort of family and loved ones being blessed with one more Christmas together to share a meal, laugh and be thankful to our Creator. To many, it’s a season of thanksgiving and renewing of faith. To someone struggling to find the ends—let along make ends meet—it can be a meal and a warm place to sleep.
This morning, as I pondered a sampling of ideas for a column this Christmas weekend, I was at the point of feeling that if any one of those short-circuited brain wave thoughts came together in time to post a few words here, that I would truly be a believer in Santa Claus one more year.
Before I had very long to fret over writer’s block, however, Christmas Eve at the Aldridge household took a sharp, unexpected left turn Saturday morning. With plans for a family gathering at dinner tomorrow taking shape, illness struck the family event planner, chef, Christmas decorator, and household organizer—a.k.a. better half, Terry. What had been shrugged off as a nagging illness all week rose up and swiftly took her out of commission before morning coffee ever reached the second cup stage.
A doctor in Center, Texas on Saturday morning? On Christmas Eve? Not happening. So, before you could say, “On Donner and Blitzen,” we were on the way to urgent care in Nacogdoches. Short version of the rest of the story is that we were thankfully back home with a less than emergency status prognosis. Dinner plans for tomorrow were quickly rearranged with a quick handoff to other family members who pitched in to keep the turkey and dressing flowing, and Terry will be fine soon.
Needless to say, Christmas here for this year is one of thanksgiving—thankful that Terry’s medical diversion was not more serious than it was. Being sick is no fun for anyone at any time, but it’s a real bummer at Christmas.
Medical emergency scare? Taken care of and done. Christmas dinner plans? Rearranged and done. A Christmas story column for the blog? Oh yeah, I knew there was something else hanging. Turning back to face the Grinch of Christmas writer’s muse from earlier this morning, I placed fingers to keyboard, closed my eyes and prayed.
OK, I can’t explain it, but there is something in my twisted sense of perspective about panic attacks during medical emergencies that ratchets up my humor button. Probably some sort of psychological diversion, like Freud’s defense mechanisms, but I‘ve honestly caused emergency room medical staff to break out in laughter while turning an ER into a comedy improv at the slightest suggestion of pain or anguish.
So, it was that on the way home and thinking about the prospect of returning to a silent keyboard hoping to create a Christmas miracle tonight before Santa parked his sleigh back in the garage at the North Pole, an unexpected trip to urgent care was looming … well, humorous, when viewed in the right light, given that all was well in the end with the household event planner, chef, Christmas decorator, and household organizer. Really, it’s OK to laugh afterward, right?
Borrowing from a Christmas classic, and apologizing in advance to the memory of poet author Clement Clarke Moore, today’s trip to urgent care called to mind the time honored immortal poem entitled, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” We’ll call ours, “A Visit to Urgent Care.”
A Christmas Visit to Urgent Care
‘Twas the day before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except maybe the mouse.
The stockings were hung, on the mantle up there,
Didn’t matter though, ‘cause we were at Urgent Care.
The dogs were nestled all snug in our beds,
While visions of chew bones danced in their heads.
Mamma watched TV, I was outside in the garage.
Polishing the old ’57 T-Bird, with loving massage.
When from the house, there arose such a clatter,
I tripped over the tool box, to see what was the matter.
Away to the back door, I flew like a turtle,
Hurrying at this age, is somewhat of a hurdle.
The 70-degree weather on the lawn’s dead grass,
Gave the luster of Texas, during winter’s last.
When, what to my blurry eyes should appear,
Mamma was telling me, “Hurry, I’m sick I fear.”
Like a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment we had to get there quick.
To the top of the hill! On past the next ridge!
Now dash away! Past Wal-Mart! After the bridge!
And then in a twinkling, we were finally there.
It all turned out OK said the doc, just a little scare.
I wrote them a nice check, and we turned around,
Out of town we rolled, back home with a bound .
I sprang to the Tahoe, to it gave a whistle,
And away we flew like a guided missile.
I heard mamma exclaim, ‘ere we smoked tires out of sight,
”Merry Christmas to all, Lord get us home safely tonight!”
Whatever Christmas represents in your heart, I wish for you a modicum of fulfillment of your seasonal hopes, dreams and aspirations. I also wish for you, save travels, good health and happy memories to cherish a lifetime.
Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a glorious New Year!
— Leon Aldridge