Coming home for Christmas

Sharon Crisp
Mount Vista Neighborhood
My Christmas memory doesn’t include gifts, good food or visits with cousins, although they did likely occur.
I remember Christmas Eve when I was four. World War II was in progress.
I was in the car with my Dad returning home from some errand I don’t remember. It was pouring down rain, a dark Vancouver night.
He suddenly pulled to the side of the road, reached across me and pushed open the passenger door. There stood three soaking wet sailors. “Get in,” Dad said. It wasn’t unusual to pick up hitchhikers.
Three huge men scrambled in. I was moved to the back seat to sit between two of them. My head didn’t reach their shoulders. They were so wet their peacoats steamed.
I cannot smell wet wool without remembering that day, how the sailors laughed and in big voices said they were heading home for Christmas, how grateful they were for the ride, how I loved listening to the conversation, how unafraid I was.
It was truly a memory gift to me, an opportunity each time I smell wet wool to remember those sailors and all servicemen and women.

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