Marolt: I wish you a Weary Christmas
Sometimes the Christmas spirit gets buried in the busyness and other stuff of the season. That’s what happened to mine last Friday. I had a kid flying in for holiday break that morning. I got to the airport just as I got the news that his plane was circling high above, waiting for a break in the foggy drizzle to dive through.
Where is Rudolph when you need him? The foggy drizzle didn’t clear and radar is not a good surrogate for a glowing red nose, so as the plane above the clouds turned tail and rerouted to Grand Junction, I pulled a U-turn and followed it.
It poured rain the entire way. “So this is Christmas” blared on the XM. By the time I met my son at the deserted desert airport to our west, we were ready for lunch at a crowded restaurant downtown, where shoppers’ bags and store-wrapped boxes sat piled next to every other table and just about everyone was tense with the anticipation of disappointing the giftees, receipts for returns stowed securely in wallets and handbags.
Warmed by French dips and fries, we splashed home through the cold rain and discussed the dismal prospects for our Broncos playing the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium Christmas night. We agreed it would be perfect if we were distracted by presents that needed batteries we didn’t have in the house, and there’s always eggnog if not.
Everybody knows that April showers bring May flowers, but it’s December showers that bring deep powder. All it took was about four hours in the dead of a long winter’s night to grow nearly two feet of fresh snow from all that rain.
It was the kind of morning you don’t hurry through, brushing 3 inches of fluff from the driveway so you can quickly get up to ski. This was one of those rare storms that require paced shoveling beginning at dawn’s early light. I’m not talking about pushing it to edge and forming it up into a nicely formed snowbank. I’m talking about standing in the middle of the driveway and heaving heavy shovels full toward the edge, where I would later heave it up again, over the sides, as I worked my way closer to the edge.
After finishing, I brushed off the car in the driveway and engineered a way to open the doors that were frozen stuck after the rain turned to ice. Once inside, I fired the engine and let her warm up while I grabbed the shovel and went back to the end of the driveway to finish again by breaking through the thick, heavy furrow the snowplow had barricaded me in with. Both the car and I ended up overheated.
I played the family card that morning, and each and every man, woman and child with my last name and living under my roof was at the gondola by 10. My back ached and the shoveling sweat cooled me to the core, but new runs were opening up as quickly as we could finish the last and we ended up making an easy warm-up day into one that felt like it might be my last.
Imagine my surprise when in the middle of my post-ski day Fosbury Flop onto the sofa, with crowd noise blaring from the football game on the television, somebody excitedly reminded me that that late afternoon was the only chance we had before The Big Day to perform the annual ritual of marching into the woods and whacking down our Christmas Tree.
Thank goodness it had snowed so much the night before! Without waist-deep snow to post hole through, none of us might have required the fortification of caffeine-infused energy bars, nor would there have been any adventuresome worry about finding ourselves lost in the rapidly darkening woods as the temperature began to plummet, with no suitable decorative tree in sight.
To keep the adrenaline from abating, once home we had to scramble to arrive unfashionably late to evening mass because we had to wake up early Sunday to drive to The Broncos game on an unbroken sheet of ice between here and Denver as a warm up for driving back on it in the dark after what was bound to be a heartbreaking loss to the Patriots.
We got the tree standing straight up and I strung on the lights as George Baily rescued his baby brother from a plunge through the ice. Shortly after, the Christmas spirit grabbed me and gently lifted me to my bed. Buried deep under my downy comforter, I snored through a smile, dreaming of the last minute gifts I would be paying a premium for.
Roger Marolt loves Christmas and hopes you get no rest during yours, either. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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