Maybe it was just that the Lord knew that was where my heart was this year. I don't know. But we went "home". And it was a series of God Winks that made the day very, very special.
Bonners had never been the home where I had actually lived. But my Mom always called it "home" while my siblings and I were growing up, so in my heart that is the place that most feels like home to me. A sense of roots, I guess. It was wear she grew up. And it's a place where I only have happy memories. Truthfully, I can't think of a bad recollection there. I am not going to try too hard, because I have made a storybook of memories in my mind, that I do not want to invade or encroach with something anything less than positive.
In some ways, our visit was planned; in some ways, it was purely happenstance. We fed both sets of animals and while on the last set, I told my husband..."Let's go to Bonners in time to hear the noon whistle."
"Ok, well we better get going, then". Not even a second thought from him. That was the first God Wink among many that would take place on this day.
So I quickly showered and dressed - excited for the day. He was ready before me and waiting patiently, having all necessary errands completed.
"Should I take the Poinsettia?" I asked him. Several day ago, we had bought a beautiful two shaded Poinsettia to take to my parents grave in the event we were able to go around Christmas. "It will probably just go to waste," my practical side suddenly appeared. "I hadn't thought about it, but it will probably freeze the first night."
"Yes, it will. But whatever you want to do." More agreement - Yikes!
I left the Poinsettia on the table, but we weren't far down the road when I regretted it. "Maybe if Super One is open we will stop and see if there is a wreathe or something there."
"They'll be open. They always are," he amicably responded.
I probably wouldn't have driven myself, but my husband had been a professional driver for years. I didn't need to worry about his capability to get us there and back safely.
Another thought came to me. This was probably the first time I had been north on Christmas in probably 40 or more years. It felt like we were entering a Winter Wonderland. A Christmas card view at every turn. It was all cathartic, and restful with unexpected joy.
Super One looked deserted, we pulled in anyway. I got out to read the sign in order to be certain. "Closed Christmas day." Oh well nothing could dampen my spirits today. I jumped into the car, and a1/4 mile later, I exclaimed, "Oh, look Safeway is open! Turn in!"
"Just let me out at the door. I think I have time to grab something and still make it in time for the whistle." I ran (yes, literally) down to the floral section and my eye landed on the cutest little, most perfect little Christmas tree anywhere complete with a weather-worthy Christmas North Star. 50% off! Wink, right back at Ya, dear God! Thank you!
"50% off," I explained to my husband as I got in the car. But he seemed as excited about the little tree as I was. I read the little tag." Bring inside when temps get lower than 15 degrees." The little tree would be just fine....maybe a deer snack...but it wasn't going to freeze, tonight or even this week.
"We still have 6 minutes! Drive down Main Street and park in front of the little park. I want to sit on the bench and listen and take it all in." I suggested/ordered/pleaded. lol
He obliged without hesitation.
The street was empty, of course, but the little park was festively decorated and I had time to snap a few pictures. Suddenly I stopped...there it was. What is it about that whistle?! It literally brought tears to my eyes. I hit record on my camera and caught it from beginning to end. "Grandma, it's noon!" And I am here for Christmas once again.
Thankful my husband pretended not to see my tears, I lingered just a bit longer before saying "Let's go up to the cemetery now."
"Here kitty, kitty, kitty!" There was a deer in the famous spot today. She looked up at us, but showed no fear. "You don't have to stop." I didn't want to worry about the car getting started again on the snowy hill, but actually the height had never seemed so minimal. Why did I always think this was so steep? I wondered to myself.
All the gates were open, the road plowed. We took our time - took photos and enjoyed the views. My husband wiped off the headstone and we placed the hearty little pine tree there. Against the pure, white snow, the stone never looked so blue and I was so thankful we had chosen that color of stone. Truly beautiful and fitting. We wandered a bit, snapped more photos and enjoyed the beautiful, peaceful setting.
"I'm starved! Let's eat!"
There was room for us at "The Inn" as it has come to be known to locals. "Where would you like to sit" the hostess asked us. "Oh we get to choose? By the window, please!" Mama and Daddy would have loved this. We got the best seat in the house.
"Myrtle Creek! And coffee!" Aahhhh, Myrtle Creek.
There were only 3 things on the menu - all traditional for Christmas. But that was perfectly ok. Because that is what we wanted - a traditional Christmas dinner. My husband chose the turkey and ham, but I simply wanted the ham. We both ignored the prime rib...for another time. Both dinners came complete with all the trimmings. It was delicious.
One more God Wink before I end. And I might love this one the best...So funny, soooooo God.
I had felt somewhat guilty and sorry for the people that had to work Christmas Day. I had remembered my paternal grandpa who would not ever shop on Sunday or a holiday, because he would then be contributing to the fact that he was a part of making these people work on the Sabbath. I have always been way more lax about shopping on Sundays. Never giving it much thought, even having to work that day myself. God's grace is bigger than that, (Grandpa knew that well) but I understand and respect my Grandpa's convictions. Truth is, I really did not want to think about making someone work on Christmas, either. People should be home with their families.
When our waitress brought our meal I was surprised to hear my husband apologizing that she had to work on Christmas Day.
"Oh, I don't mind," she laughed. "I'm Jewish! And I already celebrated Hannukah a few days ago." And I could not help but laugh with her, and acknowledge a bit of a G-d Wink. This one Jewish. ;-)
The service could NOT have been better or the day more perfect.
"I hope I am not going to die." I jokingly said to my husband. "I can't imagine why He did this for me. Everything just fell into place."
We finished our meal, but took our time. We enjoyed the view and some pumpkin pie and I reminisced Christmases and summers and family and love.
After we left The Inn, we drove through the old fashioned little town again, and went up on the dike road to look at the river. "How high's the water, Mama?" I took a few more photos, before getting back into the car to drive down the road to Grandma and Grandpa's. It doesn't look the same of course, but it was the action of it I needed to do.
We circled back under the little railroad bridge and I told my husband the day was perfect, we could head back in order to be home before dark. It was but a few hours we spent, all wrapped up was the gift of a life time and the things that call us home.