The Polar Express

18 12 2008

Nearly two weeks ago, my wife and I took the kids on a trip to the North Pole. Amazingly enough, there was a train that goes right near Santa’s village. The Polar Express was a fun ride for the kids, and they had a chance, ever so quickly, to see Santa Claus.20081208-IMG_2613

The trip to Williams, AZ was fairly quick from Phoenix. I guess that’s just me getting old. After three hours of driving, we arrived at our hotel only to be greeted with cold air and a long checkin line. Santa set up accommodations for us in his hotel, the Grand Canyon Inn. The checkin line went very quickly, as this seemed to be the normal daily routine.

After settling into the hotel, the kids, excited to see Santa again, put on their pajamas. The rule is, on The Polar Express, you can only see Santa in your pajamas. After dinner, we ran out in the chilly air to our seat on the Polar Express. The silly Dad, me, picked the wrong car to get on, so we had to run back up to the head of the train to the correct car. After a few minutes, the friendly helper elves gave us friendly instructions on being safe on the Polar Express.


And then we were off to the North Pole.

On the train, we were provided refreshing hot cocoa and a chocolate chip cookie. And, then we read the Polar Express story. And, it happened so quickly, that after a short while, we eventually made it to the North Pole. And Santa was there waiting for us. The girls we excited to see Santa. As the train turned around, Santa had disappeared. Then, the conductor told us that Santa was on the Train with us! Great!

Santa made his way to our car, seeing every girl and boy on the train and making sure they received their christmas present.

On the way home, we sang christmas carols, something I haven’t done in years. I only wish the cold air hadn’t had an effect on my throat.

I think next year, we’ll make reservations on the Polar Express again. Seeing the joy and excitement in the kids is what makes being a parent so fun. The girls, in their excitement do get a little wild, but the world melts away when you’re on the Polar Express. After all, Santa knows when you’ve been bad or good.

Remebering Christmas

30 11 2008

Tulsa, OK McFarlin Building (Skaggs Drug Center)

Tonight, I pulled the big fake Christmas tree out of the closet, and helped my two girls set up this year’s Christmas Tree. The smell of fake tree, the glow of the mini lights, the glass ornaments always leads me on a trip down memory lane. More over, I think of how Christmas for my daughters is different, and will always be different, than the Christmases I remember.

In particular, I thought back to the times (I can’t be so sure about how many) when we would all go to with my mom to her store, and help set up the Christmas displays. When my brothers and I were small, each under 10, and living in our original childhood home in the southern part of Tucson, just east of I-19, my mom was working hard at what as then Skaggs Drug Store. This store was nearly a 30 minute drive one way for my mom, and she would always come home late. Nearly always after our bed time. Even being so young, we knew our mom had to work. Besides, we would call her after school every day complaining that one of us was breaking some house rule … but that’s another story.

From what I remember, these Christmas parties were part work, and part Christmas party. There was food and drink provided. I think some times it was even a potluck. But, as far as each employee knowing everyone else in the store, this was definitely the case. I mean, my mom knew everyone, and we had several good family friends working with her at the store. Me and my brothers at least knew the names of the other kids in the store. In all, it was a fun time, even if there was some work involved.

These are fond memories of a time long ago. In fact, every time I visit a local store with a big Christmas display, I think of the people who took the time when the store closed one day, and put up all the ornaments and helped to decorate the trees. I doubt there was a big family gathering when it came to putting up the displays in stores nowadays. In fact, I’m guessing, the family has been taken out of the retail work environment. From what I remember, I think the modern retail store worker is missing out on some good ol’ fashioned family fun, with some family memories thrown in for good measure.