As we near the peak of the holiday season in all its glory and festivities every one of us has a special holiday memory that will live in our hearts forever. You know when the feeling comes over you. Your eyes get fixated and starry looking, lips pushing upwards at the corners. Maybe it’s the fresh crisp scent of pine in your living room, or mom’s pies baking in the oven. Possibly a specially colorful wrapped present with lots of bows and ribbons that sends your memory into a flurry of Christmas past.
Unlike most people though my most memorable Christmas vacation doesn’t involve most of those things. Rather mine was a journey of wonder and excitement 2000 plus miles southwest of my east coast hometown. Especially for a young girl just 4 years old back in 1972.
My grandparents, great grandmother, and one of my uncles from my mom’s family had moved to Arizona and it had been a while since we had seen them last. So my parent’s decided that it would be a nice surprise to pack my 6 year old brother, 2 year old younger sister, my 4 month old baby brother, and myself into the car for a trip across the country in the family wood side-paneled station wagon. This would be such a special surprise for them since they had not even met my baby brother yet.
Once we finally arrived in Arizona it was all about the incredible desert scenery. Like the large thorny two and three pronged cacti and palm trees along the sides of the roads. The land that seemed to stretch endlessly with huge rocks and mountains as a backdrop for this slice of heaven.
However, it was us who got the first surprise. Upon finding where they lived much to our surprise no one was at home. So, we were off to find a local motel to stay at where we could freshen up and get some rest. The next morning we got up and mom dressed us in western style clothing complete with cowboy hats. I was decked out in a red corduroy jumper and white blouse, white socks, and black patent leather shoes with my cowboy hat. My outfit was made by my great grandmother and I loved it.
You can just imagine their shock when they came to the white screen door on their white stucco home. Once we all ushered in and were passed around for hugs and kisses it was time to relax and visit and introduce them to the youngest and last member of our family. They were overjoyed.
Now, they wanted to show us around town. We went to an old-fashioned town complete with a wagon train and stagecoach rides and panning for gold. It was such a great day complete with plenty of doting photographs for keepsakes.