I remember the first Christmas that Jay and I spent together in Arizona.  I was getting my master’s degree and he was working.  We had a 1 bedroom apartment in Tempe.  My mom called him a couple of weeks before Christmas and told him about our family’s stocking tradition.  She told him that I would be filling a stocking for him to open on Christmas morning, and if he didn’t want to disappoint me, he should have one for me as well.  I didn’t know she had done this until Christmas morning as he handed me my stocking and I asked him if that was his family’s tradition, too!  I also remember when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas I had told him that I wasn’t picky just don’t try to buy me literature, art or clothes.  He bought me literature, art and clothes.  He was probably the only person who could have bought all three of those and had them all fit me perfectly.

Right after Christmas we drove his 1971 Skylark back to Kansas.  We drove straight through and to keep each other awake, we made up stories of what we could tell the police if we were pulled over.  Don’t ever do that!  We had just crossed into Kansas and it was about 2 o’clock in the morning.   As it turned out, Jay had forgotten to renew his license plate in November, so we got pulled over for having an expired tag.  We were also, apparently, on a route that was used to transport drugs, and the trunk of the Skylark was full of books that I didn’t need for the 2nd semester and so it was a little heavy. 

The officer approached the car and asked Jay to stepout.  Jay was escorted to the police car where the officer talked to him for a little bit and then came up to talk to me.  All I kept thinking was, “I wonder if he told the officer one of our stories or if he told the truth?”  And Jay was in the police car thinking (or praying), “Oh God, let her just tell the truth and not tell one of the stories!”  The other thing that was running through my mind was how I was going to repack a trunk in the dark that was almost impossible to get everything in during the daylight if the officer wanted to search the car! 

We apparently told the same story because Jay was released with a verbal warning to renew his license plate and the officer never asked to search the car!

These recollections make me both smile and bring tears to myeyes.  Some of those, “Laughter through tears” moments. This holiday season, make a special point to create good, happy memories, to take pictures, and to enjoy the company of family and friends. Life is short.  Make sure you leave those you care about with good stories to remember.