Monday, December 12, 2016

Not Even a Mouse

Long ago, when my first two children were very young, and years before my third was born, we traveled from Utah to spend Christmas with my family in Virginia. It was a whirlwind trip, as trips home always seem to be, and I am very grateful for several photos I still have from that memorable Christmas Eve.

In the house on Garland Avenue in Amherst, Virginia, there were many Beidler traditions being shared with the grandchildren that year. There were gingerbread men and thumbprint cookies, and of course, German stöllen, all made by my dad. There was a wonderful meal prepared by Jackie. Under the fat, fragrant Frazier fir displayed in a corner of the living room, there were wrapped gifts from my folks and Aunt Natalie. There were new, red plaid Christmas pajamas for the kiddies. There were cookies and milk to be left out for Santa, and before the children went to sleep, a bedtime story with Granddaddy. 

Dylan and Sierra dressed up for the Christmas Eve candlelight service at the Church of the Epiphany. 

'Twas the Night Before Christmas was a childhood favorite of mine, and I was glad my children would get a chance to have Granddaddy read it to them. My dad settled back in his big leather chair, and the children sat on the floor in front of him. He seemed to have a twinkle in his eye.

And then Daddy began...

"'Twas the night before Christmas, 
and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, 
not even a mouse stirred."

That wasn't in the story! And then I looked up at my dad, who was looking up from the book to see if anyone had gotten his little joke. (You might have to say that last line really slowly to let it sink in.)

My sister and I fell against each other laughing, and I'm sure Jackie was horrified, but probably not too surprised to hear Dad's version of the traditional Christmas tale. The Beidler bathroom humor was being passed down to the next generation, and we were there to witness it.

I can still hear Daddy's hearty laugh, and although not everyone appreciated his sense of humor, it makes me smile to tell this story so that his grandchildren won't forget the family stories we have of this giant of a man who loved to celebrate Christmas. 

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