All the family felt overcome with sadness the year Dad died suddenly of a massive heart attack. His death left Mom living alone.
Dad’s work with the Kentucky Division of Forestry required a move to this rural area near Frankfort Kentucky. However, dad was looking forward to retirement his plan was to move back to the old home place where we grew up in Barbourville.
We were all worried about Mom with Christmas approaching, she was deeply depressed feeling the loss and being alone. She expressed that she was not up to celebrating Christmas without dad.
We understood her feelings. We felt life was not the same for any of our family since dad died. Dad loved being with his family, especially the grandchildren, this special time of the Year.
He loved the Christmas lights, eggnog, fruitcake all the trimmings we indulge at least once a year.. His ritual was to gather his grandchildren around him singing Christmas carols, and telling stories.
The children were all ears listening to his Smokey the Bear tales…. The favorite was how “Smokey” protected the smallest Christmas trees from a forest fire, how one of the trees turned out to be the most beautiful Christmas tree of all time.
We came prepared to hang lights, even though she was firm about not putting up a Christmas tree inside, but she did not mind if we wanted to decorate the small fir tree and shrubs outside to give the house a look of life and spirit for the season.
As we decorated the outside Mom and I talked, laughingly remembering the days on the lane when we only had one set of lights, if one bulb went out the entire set went out. We never seemed to have replacement bulbs when this happened. By the time Christmas arrived, our lights were usually not burning. This happening never seem to mar our Christmas spirit.
Mom’s spirit lifted as the results of our labor of love looked like a fairyland….
“Oh Yes”, Mom said, “The lights are beautiful. Dad would have loved the lights.”
We said goodbye, promising Mom to be back to celebrate Christmas, and started the drive back to our home. We noticed the sky looked overcast like snow or rain. Looking back in the direction over Mom’s house, I could not believe my eyes, a rainbow was across the sky! The most vivid beautiful double rainbow seemed to light the sky around us.
We pulled over to a full stop as we could not believe our eyes. A rainbow in December was a strange sight. To us it seemed to follow as we continued on our way. We rode in silence for the longest time until we could see the sun setting, casting a beautiful heavenly glow light, as the rainbow seemed to grow dimmer. We felt that dad was with us in the warm glow of the beautiful rainbow. In some strange way, the light from the heavens comforted us in the first year without Dad.
Millie’s quote for today; “children will not remember you for the material things you provided, but for the feeling that you cherished them.