It’s Christmas Eve and here in Tempe, Arizona we are having uncharacteristically winter-like weather. We’ve had lows in the thirties, highs in the low sixties; today’s high was just about average for December – sixty-seven under partly cloudy skies. I prefer our typical sunny blue skies with temps in the mid to high seventies, which is not at all uncommon on Christmas day.
Of course that was not always my preference. When I was a kid, I used to hope for a white Christmas with dreams of playing in the snow. In the Globe-Miami area it would actually snow two or three times a year, so the likelihood of it falling on Christmas was pretty low, but it did happen a few times. I can remember close to a foot falling sometime in the 1950s and the weight caused our garage to collapse on the car. That kind of snow typically happens there about every ten years. Usually, when the snow does come, it lasts less than 24 hours.
The short duration was a really good thing, because we were not at all prepared for it. Our winter clothes were not intended to protect us from freezing temperatures and wet snow. We had zero snow toys, so a very large smooth bottom dishpan, a piece of cardboard, or some other improvised sled had to do. The clouds would disappear and the snow would visibly begin to disappear as well. Soon there was mud and slush covering the ground (and the kids), and our poor rendition of Frosty would be the last remnant of snow to vaporize.
A more typical Christmas was all the kids in our canyon, Globe Canyon, would be out in the sun shooting each other with our cap guns, riding on their new tricycles or peddle cars; generally with no coats necessary. When I was about nine, in addition to my new matching pair of pearl-handled six-shooters, I had a genuine Davy Crockett faux coonskin hat, and buckskin shirt. Another year I got a similar outfit, except with a single feather head band, I was Tonto, trusted Apache guide and friend of Kemosabe.
My dad supported our family of six plus a great-grandfather on his mine mechanic wages, and we had little disposable income. I was a true believer because I knew my parents could never afford to buy the gifts Santa would leave. For us kids, Christmas really was the most wonderful time of the year. The wonderful traditions of Christmas, the time with our family, and the contemplation of the mission and life of the Savior keeps it that way for me. Everybody, regardless of their circumstances, can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year if they give themselves to the peace that was offered the world over two millenniums ago.
The coming year is exciting for me as I have some unique events at the Pueblo Grande Museum and the Arizona History Convention, and will be working to get my next mystery ready for publication in August.
Next Tuesday, I will be hosting a guest blog on this page by prize winning author J.L. Greger who uses her medical training and teaching experiences to write mysteries with a nice dose of international intrigue.
May your next few days be joyful and 2016 healthful and happy. And may you find lots of time to read!
Mystery writer, Southwestern Historian, researcher, husband, father, grandpa, with an opinion on everything.