A Lane family Christmas story

I’m pretty much an overgrown kid when it comes to Christmas. I can’t help it. Fishing is important but so are Christmas and the family memories that are made at this time of the year. Here’s a story about my family that I think you’ll enjoy.

As most of you know, I grew up in Florida. The warm weather is nice but it doesn’t do much for the traditional vision we all have of Christmas — snow, sled riding and other wintertime outdoor activities. Well, my dad and mom worked on that for us kids. If those things wouldn’t come to us, they would take us to them.

In some years, at about this time and depending mostly on the weather, dad and mom would pack us into the family van and head north. I was probably about 8-years-old at the time. We’d drive until we found snow. Not just a little snow, mind you. We drove until we found enough to go sledding. Sometimes that didn’t take too long, but in some years it was a mighty long ways. Regardless, we didn’t stop until everything around us was white.

Even when we found the snow, though, we had problems. The first thing was that we didn’t have the clothes we needed. Florida pants and shirts don’t get it where we ended up. That didn’t stop us, though. We usually covered up in anything and everything we could find around the house. Did you know that a couple of pair of socks can be turned into mittens, or that a bath towel makes a great scarf?

The real problem, however, was our sleds. We didn’t have any. That was no big deal in our neighborhood. You couldn’t use one anyway. But when you want to go sledding, not having a sled is a problem. With just a little thought that problem was solved, however. We made do with the rubber floor mats in the van. They work pretty good once the bottom gets wet and you learn how to steer them. If you don’t believe me give it a try. You’ll be amazed.

Anyway, we’d drive with all our stuff until we found enough snow. Then, dad would pull the car off to the side of the road someplace where there was a good hill and all us kids would sled down it until we were cold, numb and completely exhausted.

I can’t tell you how many times over the years we’ve all laughed about those trips. They may sound silly now but they’re some of the treasured memories we have of growing up in a loving family. Can you imagine — a van pulled off to the side of the road with four kids sliding down a hill on floor mats?

My point is this: Memories don’t necessarily come out of expensive gifts or high-dollar vacations; money is the least important part of it. They come from being together and enjoying the family as a family.

Make a memory with your family this Christmas.

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