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.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house on Garland Avenue in Amherst, Virginia, there were Beidler holiday traditions being shared with the next generation. 

Photo credit: Natalie Beidler Mayhew

Visions of sugarplums weren't dancing through anyone's heads; what are those things anyway, but the gingerbread men and thumbprint cookies were a big hit, and of course, the German stöllen, all made by my dad. 

Photo credit: Natalie Beidler Mayhew

There was a wonderful holiday 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. Dylan and Sisi were wearing new, red plaid Christmas pajamas. Cookies and milk were left out for Santa, and before the children went to sleep, they were treated to a bedtime story with Granddaddy. 

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

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, while Dylan and Sierra sat on the floor in front of him. A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know there might be something to dread...

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 potty humor was being passed down to the next generation, and we were there to witness it.

I wonder what Dad said to make Dylan make that face. It's no telling...

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. 

And I thought I heard him exclaim, as he told us good night,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

My apologies, and thanks to Clement C. Moore for the twisted quotes from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. 

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