It was Christmas Eve of 1910 and Jennie Knowlten's girls were five miles away in their little town home in Rolla. But as the monster laughed and spat at Jennie; the rolling hills of Vida fell victim to the fiercest storm central Missouri had seen. And five miles between a mother and her daughters on Christmas Eve felt like a black endless pit of nowhere.
Jennie turned her face away from the window and her husband George took notice of the shifting of his wife's eyes. Recognizing the glimmer in her stare, George immediately sprung from the sofa, shaking his head as he spoke:
"No you don't Jennie. You can not get out in this storm to ride to Rolla"
"Its Christmas Eve, George. My girls have never been away from home on Christmas and as long as I'm living, it won't happen! It just won't happen."
Dudley jumped up from the sofa like a soldier ready to take arms. "Let's do it, momma. Let's take the sleigh to Rolla. I know we can make it. We have to have Christmas with Bertha and Hazel."
George Knowlten slumped and shook his head. There was a hellish snowstorm hovering its dark silhouette over their farm but the willful determination of his wife could outmatch any creature, especially if it stood between her and her children. And George soon became resolved to the reality of their evening fate.
George and Dudley fought the snowy sting of the wind as they edged out of the house and into the barn. George gave a quick look-over of the blades of the sleigh while Dudley bridled the horses to the yoke. The barn door swiftly swung open and the monster's forceful wind whipped it from side-to-side like a pancake. And in stomped Jennie, looking like Santa, holding bags overflowing with presents for her girls.
Santa Knowlten and her two elves cajoled the horses out of the barn and onto the whitened road while the monster glared its teeth and spit at their forward move. Fighting to hold onto the reins, Dudley was willful and steady. But the strength of the storm was ferocious and suddenly; the tale of the monster wind snapped a rein in two.
"We can't go on Jennie. We need to turn back," George insisted to his wife. The horses raised high on their back legs, twisting and turning and Jennie finally reasoned that her husband was right.
Slowly turning to look straight into the eyes of her husband and son, Jennie calmly remarked:
"Your right. Take the horses and head home."
Jennie grabbed her bundled presents and jumped from the sleigh.
"But you can't walk to Rolla, momma," Dudley cried.
"I will walk. And then if I can't walk any longer, I'll crawl."
And so the men grudgingly turned their horses back toward the farm. The strong willed Jennie Knowlten walked the rest of the way to her daughter's little town home in Rolla, Missouri; surprising two achingly lonely girls on Christmas Eve. Looking like a big white momma bear; tossing out gifts and showering hugs.
And the mad, vicious storm of 1910?
It sputtered and whimpered; tucking its tail between its legs, as it realized it had been tamed by a much fiercer foe: a determined mother on Christmas Eve.
What's your family Christmas story? Tell it so it will be told to the next generation. Even if you twist it ever so creatively; it will be your family's own.
Have a Merry Christmas. And if this momma bear could ride her sleigh to Afghanistan, I would.
Keep searching for answers,
(Dedicated to my son Spc. Ryan Roach; stationed in Afghanistan)
*Reprinting of this story is strictly prohibited.