One of the many things my mother did to make the holidays so wonderful was to create her “Christmas Scent” on the stove: simmer water, add orange peels and whole cloves. Delicious. Betty always rocked the holidays. Her elegant style and over the top Christmas cheer is something I miss dearly. I miss her Victorian tree, lights twinkling, Christmas music playing on her turn-the-dial , flea market find radio, and Betty’s smile. I miss her Christmas sweaters too.
The photo above was taken on Christmas Eve at my best friend’s house the year my father passed away (2003). He passed away in the middle of the night December 11. My mother held his hand when he died, feeling his pulse race and then fade to nothing.
In college, I took Amtrak home for the Christmas break and that was always an adventure, the High Plains of Southeast Wyoming, always a magnificent treat — white landscape, soft curves rolling out forever. That feeling of knowing I was West, among wide open spaces. There is no place like home.
The photo above is of the High Plains of Wyoming. This was the view that welcomed me back to Wyoming. I would hang out the train door practically, giddy with excitement to be home after a long journey on the train. Wyoming was my secret, a place none of my college classmates knew of. Most people I went to college with thought I rode a horse to school. I was fine with that, for in my heart I was always horseback galloping under Western skies. Each time I came back from the East Coast, I become more enamored with the landscape, with the people and the more I knew I did not belong on the crowded streets of the Northeast.
The photo below is of my father the last Christmas we celebrated together. I miss him.