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.
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.