As with many regular series, Lund at Large has taken a week off for the Holidays but I’ve brought back a personal favorite and included updates since December 24th 2013 is a very special anniversary for Linda and Me. We both send all of you our wish for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
As I close in on my 68th Christmas, I got to thinking about which ones have been the most memorable.
The first Christmas I have any recollection of at all was in 1949 when mom brought home a new baby brother from the hospital. At the time, I would have preferred more presents but, as it turned out, he was an okay gift.
The year I got a ukulele was a wonderful Christmas. My cousin, Cliff, showed me how to tune it (“my dog has fleas” C.G.E.A.) and to play a few chords. I played those chords for two days and about drove my family nuts but it turned out to be the beginning of a musical career that continues to this day.
One of the saddest Christmases was in 1963..just a month after President Kennedy was assassinated. On Christmas Eve, one of my uncles insisted on playing a phonograph record he’d just bought of Kennedy’s most memorable speeches with the sound track from “Camelot” playing in the background. It was too much and I went for a walk.
In the late 60’s it was a delight to watch my two little girls experience the joys of Christmas..only, a few years later, to see sadness, disappointment and fear on their faces when their mother and I split up.
Another marriage that began with promise, high hopes, and a few joyful Christmases, ended with a sour separation and divorce. That’s when I vowed never to marry again. I was just no good at it. Then I met Linda..a recently divorced mother of three who lived in my neighborhood. We got to be friends; sitting outside for hours in the summertime drinking wine and talking.
She had pretty much reached the same conclusion as I; that another marriage just wasn’t in the cards. As our relationship grew and we knew it was real, we talked about getting married but agreed we would wait until all the children were out of high school..at least five years..maybe more.
This went on for 3 years until it reached the point that all five of our kids were dropping hints about moving this thing along already.
So, in December of 1983 when Linda was off shopping, I cornered Brenda, James and Christy and told them what they already knew; that I loved their mother, would never do anything to hurt her and wanted their permission to propose marriage.
Well, they each started laughing, gave me a hug and said, “It’s about time!” Three down, two to go. After all I’d put them through with two previous failures, I figured my girls, Suzan and Patty, could be a tougher sell. But, as usual, I was wrong. While trying to find the right words and give assurances, I could see both my daughter’s eyes fill with tears. As the three of us embraced, they said, “Dad, we just want you to be happy. Besides, I think we love Linda about as much as you do.”
So the big surprise was set. The seven of us, and grandbaby Tara, would have Christmas Eve dinner at my house..after which I would say “How about some ice for dessert?” At that point, I’d bring out the modest diamond ring I’d bought, drop to my knee and ask Linda to marry me. Throughout dinner, I was sure the kids would blow it because they kept staring at the both of us and smiling. But it came as a total sweet surprise to Linda and once she saw everyone around the table was in complete agreement and shedding tears of joy, she said “Yes!”
There have been some wonderful Christmases since then as our combined families have continued to grow. But that night, 30 years ago, with all of us around a candle-lit Holiday table, will always be the happiest and most memorable Christmas of my life.
Merry Christmas from The Lunds.