This post should probably be titled, "The Most Wonderful Day /Night of the Year". It all began when I was having lunch with MaryAnne Gilmer at the Great Outdoors yesterday, December 23. We were casually eating and chatting when I received a message from Amanda Humphries. Amanda said she and her family wanted to visit four homes between 6:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M. Homes where families had had a rough year.
I asked MaryAnne, "Why do they want to visit my home? It will be dark and we don't even have Trick-or-Treaters at my home in the dark. Then, my beloved friend, MaryAnne, said, "It's Christmas. Maybe they want to come caroling."
"Really?" I asked. "I've never had anyone caroling at my house. So okay. I will respond to Amanda." Which I did. I was really hoping Amanda's family would come around 6:00 P.M., but instead they came around 7:30. Mom had retired to her room to watch the news and game shows. It was dark so I turned on the porch light, the porch lamps, and all the stained glass lamps throughout the porch and the house. I had put Maggie and Lily in their pen, but around 6:30 P.M. I took them out to watch TV with me.
I told Mom there would probably be four to five people coming to the house and I would get her up when they came. "Okay," she said. Then 7:30 arrived and Maggie and Lily went crazy barking and leaping at the front door. I peered into the darkness and saw flashlights heading to my house. "Shut up, dogs!" I screamed; but I couldn't catch them before the flashlights appeared on my front steps.
I greeted Amanda and her family. "Come in," I said. They said they wanted to sing Christmas carols outside. Well, if you know me well, my response was, "No way. It may start raining again. Come in to my front porch." Which they did. But, hey. That wasn't good enough for me. "Come into the TV room. It's warm inside." They hesitated for fear they would get mud on my floors. "Don't worry about my floors. Come in." And they did. Amanda had not been in the remodeled house and she was amazed, as well as the rest of her family. "Let me go get Mom," I said. "I told her you were coming. Just look around and make yourself at home."
So I told Mom to get up that our guests were here. Of course, when Mom walked into the TV room, her first words were, "I thought there was going to be four or five of you." I told Mom to sit down that my friends wanted to sing Christmas songs to us. And they did! Beautiful Christmas carols. Mom and I both clapped when they were done.
But the best part was giving and receiving hugs from teachers I taught with, students I taught throughout the years and basically feeling the love from a Fort White family who cared about me.
But, in the end, Amanda's family did not escape without me telling them about the "free" Christmas tree I got from the cashier at CVS in High Springs. Once a writing teacher. . . always a writing teacher willing to tell a story.
It WAS the most wonderful night of the year . . . December 23, 2014. (By the way, I found out there were 13 carolers in all. I could have sworn there were 21).
Merry Christmas everyone!