ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
December 21, 2016
This is a letter to our friends –
A Christmas story
It was mid-December, 1958 in Boston. The GI Bill and Fran’s salary were putting me through a two year MBA course. We had been saving all we could, to have enough to drive ourselves and Guy, our baby boy, to Grand-mother’s for Christmas in Dallas.
Her older sister and husband were stationed in the mid-west on an Army base. Her younger brother Jerry, and his bride were living in Dallas. Everyone was looking forward to gathering around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.
Our baby was the only grandchild so far, and the folks yearned for him! School was finally out. Bob and Norma had managed to get leave from the Army base and were heading for Dallas. We put a mattress in the back of our old Plymouth station wagon, along with enough sandwiches for the 3-day drive and left Boston for Texas.
It was a bitter cold and stormy night as we drove through New Jersey. About midnight the engine froze up. Fortunately we had a “Triple A” card. When the tow truck driver discovered we were stranded without money for motels, he parked our station wagon inside the repair shop and we slept in the back until the shop opened.
It turned out the Plymouth would need a new engine and a week to repair. We were heart broken that we would miss the grandparents playing with the baby. We decided to spend the gas money and fly to nearby Air Force friends in Washington, D.C.
Imagine the tearful phone call to Dallas that we would miss Christmas with the folks. Hearts continued to yearn. It was Christmas eve! Credit cards had just begun being used. Our hosts believed they could be used for air fair! I had a Diner’s Club card.
Sure enough! We could blow a year’s budget and fly on credit – but – There were only two flights that could make it in time. Both were oversold! We went on standby and hoped really hard! The first flight left. We got on the second flight – YEA!
Arriving in Dallas at one o’clock Christmas morning, having already blown the budget, we rented a car and drove to the folks’ house. All was quiet. The back door was unlocked. We slipped in and bedded down under the tree in the den.
At day-break Fran’s younger brother, Jerry, and his wife tripped over us as they arrived. The house was asleep. Excited surprised greetings were whispered. Then Jerry took the baby and slipped into the grandparents’ room. He put Guy between them and slipped out again.
Shouts and tears of Joy! That began a Christmas tradition. Our kids and their cousins grew up on Christmas with grandma. Some years were even more exciting, but somehow we managed. The grandparents are gone now and our kids have families and traditions of their own.
One that has remains though – On the day after Christmas, our three kids and their spouses and kids gather ‘round our Christmas tree and open presents.
Rich precious memories are made of things like this.
These columns are archived since 12/10/09