Sunday, December 24, 2006

Spirits of Christmas

Every Christmas movie on cable this year involves Christmas spirits, either the kind that visit in the dead of night or the kind that are imbibed, or both. While watching one of the many Christmas offerings on DVD, my daughter asked me where the Ghost of Christmas Past would take me.

My first, and fondest, thought was of my grandparents’ house on Blue Lake. I remember the cold, drafty north bedroom where my girl cousins and I giggled far into Christmas Eve as we tried to sleep. Christmas morning meant a huge tree in the living room, warm fragrant smells from the kitchen, and the voices and presence of all the people I loved the most.

Then I thought of the Christmas memories I’ve collected during my years in the Emergency Department. There was the Christmas Eve during my residency when a preacher and his family were killed in a car wreck on the exit ramp next to the hospital, on their way to Christmas Eve services. There was the year in Lubbock when a large family drank their way through Christmas Eve. Then one brother stabbed another arguing over whom would open presents first. Many Christmases I’ve worked in hospitals that had to line up the drunks in the hall because there was no other place for them to safely sober up. Yes, I have a number of colorful memories that would make it easy for the Ghost of Christmas Past to assemble a collage.

Now is the time to thank the dedicated emergency personnel working this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They have given up their time with their families and loved ones to provide care for those less fortunate on this holiday. I thank them for their hard work and self-sacrifice, through this holiday and every day. Have a wonderful holiday.

And……be safe.

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