There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Ghost Trees Along the Juniata River at Christmas

Last year, as you may recall, my mother fell and broke her hip and tested positive for Covid, all within the same week. She spent Christmas in the hospital, and traveling all around via ambulance. My dad was on quarantine so we did not even get to visit until after the holidays. We "got together" via Zoom on Christmas eve.

This year, my dad promised my mom a real Christmas, with family. And so those of us who were able to do so congregated at their home in Juniata County, Pennsylvania, for Christmas eve and Christmas day activities.

My husband and I visited on Christmas day, and I made my famous chocolate chip cookies that very morning, so they would be as fresh as possible. I also took along some peanut butter fudge I'd made the day before.

As we drove down, we traveled on route 322 along the Juniata River, known locally as "the Narrows." There is a fishing access point that can be visited when traveling east along 322, but not when traveling west. So it's an "on the way" stop.

The Juniata River is famous in song and story. To me, it will always be my family river, the gorgeous Blue Juniata. I enjoyed the ghost trees (sycamores) that line its banks, on the other side of the river along the railroad tracks. So here is a photo of those, a little something soothing and peaceful on Christmas.

When we arrived at my family house, my mom and dad had a little package waiting. It was a gift sent by Uma, a woman in India, a wonderful lady who does cat rescues and so many other good things, who has been a friend for many years. The package arrived on Christmas eve. Perfect timing!

My friend was actually in Pennsylvania in October of 2008, and I met her for the first and only time on the day before I got married. The man I loved was dying, and I was marrying him to give him my insurance so we could get him into the hospital to try to save his life. You can read more of that story here.

That day, Uma got to hear the whole tale, tears and all, and she took my news back to our community of online friends from the Icanhascheezburger website (yes, we are Cheezies!). Anyway, this is only to say: we are pals from way back when. When I needed a friend, somehow, magically, she was there.

Uma has always spoken warmly of my charming parents, whose photos I share both here and on Facebook. And a few months ago, she had asked me if it was OK to send them a tiny gift, and I said sure, and provided their address.

My dad was just tickled pink over all of this: that someone they'd never met would be so kind as to send something ALL THE WAY FROM INDIA!!!! The gift for him and my mother was a tiny, colorful elephant ornament for their tree. There was also a small gift for me, a little bag to hold pencils or glasses or what-not. T. Tiger can be seen in the extras, welcoming the new elephant to our country. Christmas is a very fine time to be a special creature.

Then my dad said something that cracked me up. He said now he is in a relationship with my friend in India, "Because I've got her elephant," he said, with a cheeky grin. I posted my parents' photos on Facebook this morning, and my friend Uma commented: "My new BFFs!"  :-)

There was food, and some silliness and carrying on, and there were gifts and hugs, and even some pretty hot and serious Christmas kisses exchanged in the living room between married parties. ("Give us a kiss for the camera!" "Oh my goodness, get a ROOM!") For Christmas is a time for family, a time for love, a time for celebration. If you celebrate it, I hope your Christmas was good! Ours was!!!!

Now, to me, Christmas is all about love. So I'm including this song, which is a favorite: Sting, Rod Stewart, and Bryan Adams, with All for Love.

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