Having read “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote, I wanted to salute him by titling my story about my dad “A Christmas Eve Memory.” Dad loved Christmas and wanted everyone at home during that special time.
One of my favorite Dad stories occurred on Christmas Eve when my sister Lindy and I, along with our step-siblings Sissy and Kevin, were all adults. The four of us planned to attend Christmas Eve services. Lindy and Sissy were both Catholic, so they and their husbands would be going to St. Patrick’s.
I was Episcopal, but I was also divorced so I had no spouse to accompany me.
Kevin was going to a unique church that we knew a little bit about and, since I was sans spouse, he invited me to come with his current wife and him. We were gone for a good long time because Kevin’s church was very “interesting.” The service began in darkness, and then we heard a loud brass band. People were waving their arms in the air and when I turned to ask Kevin what it meant, he too was waving his arms hypnotically. Later there were many testimonies.
The service went on for quite a time, with various aspects that I had never encountered previously.
When we returned, only Lindy and Sissy were up. They were both dying to know what had transpired in what they called “the Church of What’s Happening Now.”
Kevin and I headed for the kitchen for some refreshments, and I certainly didn’t want to say too much due to the “interesting” nature of the service. After all, Kevin and Dina were nice enough to take me along; however, Lindy and Sissy kept up the badgering.
You were gone for nearly three hours. What happened at that church while you were there?
I replied, but then I (for some unknown reason) added
Well, there was a woman who spoke in tongues.
Well, ‘nothing much’ is an understatement then.
Lindy followed up with
Yeah…speaking in tongues is a big thing! Was anyone there handling snakes?
As Lindy and Sissy chuckled, Kevin’s nostrils flared, and he shouted:
Well, at least we don’t worship the Pope.
The battle of Christmas Eve was now fully on.
Voices were raised to the point that my dad woke up and came out to the kitchen.
What’s going on?
he asked me.
Oh Dad, it’s just a discussion of religion.
I replied in a desperate attempt to increase the peace.
Dad then delivered one of the funniest lines he ever said:
Okay. From now on there will be no more discussion of religion on Christmas.
Then he folded his arms and looked stern. Everyone stopped arguing and started laughing. To this day, we always recall this “interesting” evening at Christmastime.