Twas the Night Before Christmas and All Was Not Well!/by Susan Schuerr
Larry and I finished loading up our van with luggage, gifts, various types of skis and ice-climbing gear. We finally were on our way from Chicagoland to Bozeman, Montana where two of our three children lived. It was Christmas break and as a teacher, I was looking forward to my two weeks of freedom. Flying was out of the question. Our sleigh was too heavy for any plane.
We had an old Ford van; the mechanic had looked it over and said, “You’re good to go.” This man must have been Scrooge in disguise. We made it to Sauk Center at the Minnesota border when the van, to our dismay, stopped abruptly. We hopped over a fence and knocked on a stranger’s door. Being in a Christmas mood, the friendly folks took us into town where we found a mechanic and a motel for the night. When the faulty wire was finally reattached, we continued Westward on Rt 94. We kept our spirits up by singing Christmas carols, eating homemade cookies and hard-boiled eggs. But Larry was tense and worried that we would encounter another hiccup. I was getting colder and colder by the minute as the wind whistled through the drafty van and the temperature dropped. To keep warm, I snuggled into my sleeping bag feeling like a caterpillar in a cocoon.
It was Christmas Eve in Jamestown, North Dakota and the sun was beginning to set when the van
started hiccupping more violently. We looked up and as fate would have it, we saw a Ford dealership. Larry was able to clickity clank into the driveway before the van heaved to a death defining halt. The franchise was getting ready to close when the mecahnic confirmed our greatest fears, “Your van is toast.” he said.” Scrooge was wrong; our vehicle would never make it beyond the Jamestown junkyard. “Now what?,” we thought. The jovial Santa-like car dealer came to our rescue with a holiday special. He showed us a beautiful used white and green conversion van in our price range. We filled out the loan paper work; but being Christmas Eve, the dealer could not check our financial status to verify our bank information. But the spirit of Christmas prevailed and the dealer not only took our word on faith, but gave us $500 for our hunk of junk. We moved our luggage, gifts and skis/ ice climbing gear to our new vehicle while shaking the hands of the friendly ford staff. “Merry Christmas” we shouted while streams of Chistmas music filled the air. God bless you merry gentleman, I quietly sang.
Now on the road again, we thanked our Heavenly Father for the gift of a new van. No longer was I confined to my sleeping bag. The new sleigh was warm and comfortable and soon I drifted off to sleep with visions of our Montana family dancing in my head. Larry, my wonderful husband, continued his way to Bozeman arriving at 3 AM. We had made prearrangements to stay at our daughter-in-law’s parent’s home. They left the door open for us. We sank into our bed totally exhausted but so happy to have reached our destination by Christmas day.
The next morning, the in-laws woke up and saw our new van in their driveway. “Whose here from North Dakota? ” they wondering seeing our temporary license plates. It would be one of our best Christmas celebrations ever as we shared our tale-Twas the Night Before Christmas and Now all is Well.
By Susan Schuerr