Saturday, December 21, 2013

One unforgettable Christmas 25 years ago

Bill and I use to have this tradition on Christmas morning. 
It's going to make us sound like lame parents, but it's what we use to do. After the kids had gone to bed on Christmas Eve, we would quickly fill  the boys stockings and hang them on the fireplace. We'd always remind the boys before they went to bed that night that they could get their stocking first thing in the morning but Don't wake us up! 

Their stockings usually contained their breakfast so we had that covered too.

The older two would take care of the younger two. Sweet deal.

Consequently we have no pictures of our boys walking in to the tree on any Christmas morning of their entire childhood. No, that is because they were always up before us, and we were sleeping. Especially me. That was my Christmas present to myself each and every year.

Except for the Christmas of 1988. For some reason unexplainable to Bill and I, we awoke very early that morning…..about 5:30am. Both of us. So we went into the family room and just sat on the couch and talked. We always turned the heat off at night, so normally even on cold winter mornings when we woke up that early we would stay in bed where it was warm. Since it was still dark outside, our boys, ages 3, 4, 9, and 11 were still sleeping. I trained them very early: "We don't get out of bed before Mr. Sun comes up." Christmas morning and total quiet. 

So as we were sitting there chatting, suddenly we heard this popping noise. We both looked at each other and at least one of us said, "What was THAT?" We heard it again, and again. Finally Bill noticed the sound was coming from our garage, which was right next to the couch we were sitting on. He opened that door to find sparks flying from an electric cord that was plugged in above our clothes dryer. On the dryer was a stray cardboard box that was on fire! Flames were shooting up from it but Bill was able to quickly smother it with a blanket near by. Then he wet it all down to make sure all the sparks were completely out.

We quickly figured out the cause of the fire. This particular Christmas Bill's parents were peacefully sleeping in their motor home that was parked  in our driveway. They had used our plug above our dryer to get electricity from. As the morning became colder, the heater within their motor home kicked in more and it became too hot for that little outlet….causing those sparks to fly, and the fire to begin.

After Bill put the fire out, I remember we just looked at each other in awe. I couldn't help but say, "What if we had been asleep like we probably were every other Christmas of our entire marriage at 5:30am?!"

An hour or so later the boys were up, and Bill's parents came inside from their motor home. I remember Bill's Dad saying how COLD they were and they couldn't figure out why they lost all power! Little did they know. We quickly showed them the burned box in the garage, and the fire Bill had put out.

Then we went right into the joy of that morning... opening gifts and eating breakfast.

25 years have passed since then. Still, I remember it and think about every single Christmas. It could have turned out so differently. At the least, we could have lost our home. Or our children, since their rooms were closer to the garage than ours was. But we didn't.

Instead, we just went on to have a very sweet Christmas.

I know I've shown this video before,
but it was the same Christmas morning Tyler sang this:


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a story! So glad you woke up early that day.
You are lucky to have videos of your kids when they were small. That was darling.

Brock said...

Love this blog, Mom.

Did you ever tell us about this? At first, I didn't recall it, butthen as I started reading it sounded familiar.

Grandma Honey said...

I'll help your memory a little Brock. A few weeks before this happened very late one night, your Dad had this strong impression come to him that his life would be threatened. He told me he might not make it and gave me advice on what I should do, and he also increased his life insurance. I was just sick about that. I couldn't get it off my thinking and it was hard preparing for Christmas that year. Then when this fire happened I felt relief that, okay, the threat is over now. Little did I know the very next month he would be shot all those times.

So he lived through that shooting but it was a wonderful thing he was prompted a few weeks earlier to increase his life insurance. After the shooting, with all his injuries, he never would have qualified for the increase. That extra life insurance allowed us to keep our home after he died plus I didn't have to leave you all and go to work. What a blessing that scary prompting turned out to be.

Karen Mortensen said...

What a story Jill. Thanks for sharing about all of this.

Richard said...

That one is new to me...

Jay Marks said...

I love this Blog.. I never know what is next!

Richard said...

You should write that story up and submit it to the Ensign. This one or any of several others should have a wider audience.

Tyler Heasley said...

I second Richard's comment. Also, this post is awesome. And since it features me, you're okay to just leave it as the main post through Christmas.

Kris said...

Wow. That's an incredible story. I really enjoyed reading this.