I like saying Merry Christmas, but I have some friends who have different religious convictions. So this is for all of you and us.
This is my summary of the year. I am not sending out cards this season for a number of reasons. Much of my time this summer and fall was taken up by healing from knee replacement. I went into rehab right out of the hospital to start the cycle of strenuous physical therapy. I got home and continued. I did well, and continue to do well. Thank you to those who knew and offered hopes and prayers. It all worked. It honestly took the summer to get my brain somewhat back to thinking straighter, though. Medications and healing really can take a toll.
Then when I started to get better, I sold books and spoke at a few United Methodist events while spending the fall editing and citing my essay on Rev. Mary MacNicholl, the first woman in Minnesota to receive full-clergy rights in the Methodist Conference. Frank and I took off to Blair, Nebraska, in October to meet and visit with a good phone friend, Muriel Neve, who was Mary’s good college friend at Drew Seminary. When I returned home, I concluded my editing and citing the paper that ended up to be 66 pages, not including 3 citation pages. It has been sent to its new owners, The General Commission on Archives and History for the Methodist Church in Madison, New Jersey, from which I received the grant to write about her life. I am still working on the video that I produced. I have it in that format, but I cannot seem to sync it with the music. Hopefully, that’ll come soon.
I was “on” Christmas until last week when my husband was admitted to the hospital with extremely low hemoglobin counts. Four days of being put to sleep, three times for tests including bone marrow, a transfusion, iron shots, and blood testing each day, and we are no closer to an answer. Some guesses but no answers….. I am thankful he is home, but this year on our anniversary I have come to realize the real test of marriage comes in the vow “. . . in sickness and in health . . .” Frank has had many health issues since he retired–almost all of them here in Central Minnesota. Hopefully, we will have answers soon.
For all of you, I hope for a blessed season, and I hope for all of us a great and greater new year.
I leave you with a Christmas poem that I published in Postcards from the Old Man a number of years ago:
Around December 14, Dad, and sometimes the rest of our family, went to find our tree. For years, we drove in from the country and bought from Ellis Kniss at the Kniss’ Fairway Store. Because the branches were wrapped, wired, and often covered in snow, we were always surprised with what we had purchased once we began to unwrap our symbol of yuletide cheer.
My father’s search to find our tree
would often take him out to see
if they would have at Kniss’ Store
a Christmas tree like years before.
Up against the mart’s north wall
stood evergreens so lush and tall.
But on the ground my dad detected
a scrub—discarded and neglected.
A tree to touch his tender heart—
for orphaned man, his counterpart.
He dragged it home where we awaited
a tree to love—when decorated.
As it stood in stand, we realized
the tree was less than he’d surmised.
The bells and balls, a garland rope
just didn’t help. We gave up hope.
Out of ornaments; so what to do?
We finally admitted we were through.
Tinseled and lit, a star on top
that dried up tree was still a flop.
Now years later…in memory,
I think that I shall never see
a poem as ugly as that tree—
or one that means so much to me.