|This is the Otter River that flows through my grandparents farm |
in Michigan's upper peninsula. (Not taken by me.)
Linda was going through some files that contained old documents and papers. She found one paper, read it, and said "John, look at this." It was a story my mother had written years ago, about a Christmas Eve when she was a child. Mom was raised on a farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her family was poor. She once told me that one Christmas her gift was an orange. Which she held on to and cherished and ate eventually with great pleasure.
Here is the story she wrote, many years afterwards.
The wind blew hard but rather mild for December 24th. I can still smell the mild, moist air as I wished for snow. We must have snow, fresh snow for Christmas Eve! Although there was snow on the ground, I had hoped for clean, white snow on this Christmas Eve.
I turned around to see my father hitching up the horses to the big sled; their sleigh bells rang sharp and clear on this night that was getting colder. Soon all of us "kids" scrambled into the big sled, buried ourselves in the comfy blankets, singing "Silent Night" as we went dashing through the snow. What fun! The neighbor family rode behind us, all of us heading for church.
I'll never forget that magical night. To make it perfect, big snowflakes started falling down. The horses kicked big chunks of snow and made a snorting noise as we raced along.
This all happened in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where we always had plenty of snow to enjoy. Life was good!!
- Esther Piippo