We were sitting in a warm kitchen, full of aromas from the holidays, just outside of Jasper. His words took me back more than 50 years ago. To war-torn Italy, just after the Great Depression during World War II.
My husband’s grandfather was serving as a young man in the U.S. Army far away from his wife and two young sons. It was Christmas Eve and he fell asleep in that cold and lonely land, thousands of miles from home. As he slept, he dreamed that he was back in his home with wife “Ted”, his pet name for wife Estelle, and they were “fixing” Christmas for their sons. A peaceful, happy time! Like “Ted” once said, “back then, everybody was poor!” and the have-nots far outnumbered the haves. Imagine his heartache when he awoke on Christmas morning to realize it was only a dream!
Fifty years passed. L.H. Gilmore had done a lot of living since then. Sons raised, they married and began raising their own children. He worked long hours in the strip mines before retiring. He buried two stillborn babies, outlived most of his and his wife’s large families. He had seen all the joys and heartaches life had to offer, but the eighty year-old man in front of me broke down and cried with tears rolling down his weathered face after relating this experience.
Let us never forget the sacrifices that our servicemen and women have made through the years so that we may enjoy peaceful Christmases at home with our families.