“White Out ’09,” “The Blizzard of 2009,” “Historical Snowfall,” these were the headlines our greedy news outlets used describing December 24, 2009. If anything happened that day or night outside of Oklahoma we missed it. Wall–to-wall coverage of this disputable snowfall led our government officials and weathermen to tell us to stay home. A blizzard on Christmas Eve had created the perfect storm. We all have our stories of that night, but my story is not about the weather. It’s about courage, determination, togetherness and family. Should we have gotten out? Probably not.
Stay home on Christmas Eve? No way! We, as a family, had a get together and when my sister-in-law puts on Christmas, it is not to be missed. However, we had a 79 year old and two 84 year olds to get there. How? My brother-in-law selflessly trekked out to collect my mother-in-law and her husband. Robin and I picked up my dad and couldn’t have had an easier time driving in our all-wheel-drive Honda Pilot (dubbed “the Billy Goat” after this storm). What I sensed in our older family members was the same in our younger members: they wanted to come together. The enjoyment of each other’s company and the genuine fun we have together caused us to overlook the dangers of the weather outside.
My son-in-law and his two older boys started out in his jeep (which looks more like a lunar rover than an earth vehicle.) With 30-inch tires and an 8-inch lift he could go anywhere. But, there was no room for the presents and my oldest daughter and their new baby. Half-way through our trip we got a call from her that she needed a ride. After dropping off my car load, my youngest son and I went back for her. Living just two football fields away from us, going back to get her through the 40,50 and 60 mile an hour winds with the 3 to 6 foot drifts and the snow coming down was not something you would normally want to do. But for some reason I didn’t mind, because what happened on this night was far stronger than words can express. For me, it was a pleasure beyond the normal everyday experience.
The desire to want to come together that night caused us to do things that we normally wouldn’t do. It caused us to get out of our comfort, and yes even our common sense security zones. My oldest son, his wife and two daughters had no problem arriving in our heavier- than-a-boulder, four-wheel-drive dually welding truck, but he was ready to help my second oldest daughter, her husband and two daughters if they had gotten stuck. Her family had to maneuver through the streets of Edmond with all the other crazies that were out and go around all the cars that were strewn and abandoned but they made it. Heck, my youngest daughter and her husband walked to our party, much to our and her own surprise! She hates the cold but her husband is adventurous. Nothing he does should surprise her.
The last ones to arrive were our newest newly-weds. They weren’t late because of being newly-wed but because of traffic. What normally would have been a thirty minute drive turned into a three hour wait in a long line of traffic. But, with determination and patience they made it.
I purposely wanted to observe this year more than be in the big middle of all that was going on and was really blessed by doing so. I wondered why the 28 of us couldn’t have waited a couple of days to have our get together to celebrate Jesus’ birth, but as our second granddaughter, age 8, read the Christmas story to us, I thought this is what family is all about : a desire to want to come and share in each other’s lives. True love causes each other to want the best for the other, not wanting to tear down so that one can have the upper hand, but always building up.
I really liked what I saw. I’m truly blessed. This storm brought out the best in us. We laughed, we learned, we lived and even cried that snowy night, but boy did we enjoy each other. Getting home? Now, that’s another story.