A Christmas to Remember

Shared by resident Lois Pettit

There were many memorable family celebrations of the Christmas season over the years, some
with the four of us and some when Daddy had to be away, but the one that stands out for me was our Christmas odyssey of 1971.

We had just spent a year in Tampa, Florida, while my husband was finishing his last year of college through the military program, Bootstrap. His next duty station was the Presidio of San Francisco, California, and we had to be there by the end of the year. We were going to have Christmas on the road.

We drove from Tampa to New Orleans to celebrate Christmas Eve with dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants. Unbeknownst to our two boys, we had packed representations of our standard Christmas traditions in the car trunk: a miniature artificial tree with ornaments, store-bought Christmas cookies, since we were unable to exercise our custom of baking cookies, Christmas stockings and, of course, gifts. When we returned to the motel from dinner, we surprised the boys with the rest of our Christmas celebration.

To help entertain the boys on the rest of the long car ride, I read a few pages of a story, Ring of Bright Water, for short periods each day.