There is a song I hear throughout the winter holidays called, ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas.’ I’ve heard it annually going all the way up to the 1960s, but until recently I hadn’t paid much care about the words. The singer promises he’ll be home for Christmas. He assures us we could rely on him. It appears that promise is probably not wholehearted while he says he’ll be home for Christmas, but only in the ‘dreams.’
I will probably be home for Christmas, mom. You already made available to me your gift. You got me into women that has the Christmas spirit learn about. She wraps those packages with exactly the same patient care. I watch her place them carefully under the tree. You always made Christmas special, to me.
I still have a vivid image in my mind individuals with your long brown coat and scarf walking briskly compared to that bus stop on Main Street. When I think person I consider Woolworth’s, the 88-cent store, S&H Green Stamps, or Bob’s 19-cent hamburgers. You was lacking the entire stomach, toys and warmth I had becoming an adult. You gifted me with each of those things despite your deficiency of similar experiences. You took your gift, saved it, wrapped it, and placed it there personally.
I hadn’t known of people heart-breaks you endured as a kid until dad informed me of which on that horrible day in August. I lived together with you such a long time; why didn’t I know? You shined so bright. You led us into our future. I didn’t know your past. You shined for the entire world, but especially personally.
I’ll be home for Christmas. I’m safe and warm and dry. One Christmas I needed that you be at home. I packed everything into my car with only one thing in my mind. I wanted to emerge from that strange city I could never call ‘home.’ I wanted to spend Christmas along with you and pop. I didn’t recognize how a lot of time there was.
The rain and sleet pounded the windshield as I sloshed along the freeway hoping to allow it to be by midnight. I kept thinking about the temperature of your respective fireplace, of putting presents beneath your snow blown tree. Each present I had carefully wrapped, presenting for your requirements the careful choices I’d made. I was obviously a nervous man.
‘I’ll be home for Christmas; you’ll be able to trust me.’ That’s what ran through my mind that night as I held to the leather tyre. If sheer will alone could have kept that car running, then I’d make it. But even as I prayed and held my breath, that engine started to knock. There is never sufficient time.
Mom, I never wanted that you go. I want so bad to drive to your dwelling. That house remains, but it’s empty now. I feel I need to call you. I draw an imaginary line about the hardwood floor. The knotted pine paneling that sheets one wall reminds me of these day. The old wooden bed with chewing gum stuck on the post. You informed me the gum may have belonged to anyone. It may have been stuck there by my father when he would be a kid.
Where does life go? I still can’t keep track with my eye around the lines ingrained about the wall paneling inside my old room. I can’t count them, even when I trace each line with my finger. They’re strongly etched here, then spiral into nothing there. You can trace it back into the rough knothole it originated. That was so very long ago. Is it possible to return? I spent all of the hours inside my sick-bed. I counted those knotty pine lines with one eye open. My finger guided my vision. Some might refer to it ‘wasted time.’ Could any area of childhood ever truly be ‘wasted time?’
Green grass holds a swing-set as well as a willow tree. How many relatives and buddies greeted me or said ‘goodbye’ as well door? I wish I could go returning to when that door was made and watch each friendly face can be found in. I would listen to each conversation. How nice that you will find. And the corner in which the Christmas fir stood, angel topped, strewn having a child’s touch of too thick tinsel, silver, gold, green, red eggshell thin bulbs mounted to the needled limbs by sturdy wire hooks. “Is there a bicycle to me? No, two bikes. The green stingray is mine!”
I’ll be around for Christmas, but I’ll have someone to speak to. She’s of exactly the same spirit as you. She’ll speak to me as she stirs the fudge. She’ll also set down decorations and hum Christmas songs. Perhaps I’ll even see dad again as I remember him. He’ll be as part of his young blue-jeans, coat, and hat shoveling fresh fallen snow.
It’s six in the morning again; mom and dad are talking softly with the cooking. You hear breakfast dishes sliding around the kitchen table. You know you’re ready to get up when mom turns on her radio.
I couldn’t help it become home for Christmas that year. I eradicated in a closed weigh-station near Salem. I spent the evening freezing inside my fold back bucket seat. I was cold, wet and broken. But dad came and picked me up. He took me home to where it turned out dry. And you are there with the house. Christmas was stacked beneath the tree.
A hot ham waits, and classic pumpkin pie. Mom, I’ll be home for Christmas; only when in my dreams.