There were so many happy times in my life, that it is next to impossible to pick one. But I have decided on one from my early childhood, and then I will briefly mention a couple of others.
It was Christmas time when I was four years old. We were visiting my paternal grandparents in Peoria, Arizona, in the manse that Grandfather Dugger had built for the Presbyterian church he was Pastoring. The beautifully decorated Christmas tree was in the living room. A bed had been tucked behind it, next to Grandpa’s study, where Aunt Nellie and I were to sleep. There were lots of Christmas secrets being shared with this little girl, that I mustn’t tell. One was a small radio that Aunt Nellie had bought for Grandpa, and I was allowed to watch her wrap it in very pretty red and green wrapping paper with Holly branches and berries. I could feel the excitement building.
There was much going on in the kitchen as the women prepared food for the big day. The aroma was always present, and tempting. There was much chatter and happiness there among the womenfolk in that kitchen. When my cousins arrived, we used to play outdoors in the big ditches that ran in front of the houses that were used to supply water in summer. So much was happening and it was all fun. The whole family was together and you could feel the love.
But for me the best part was waking up in the morning as Grandpa came through to light the pot bellied stove in the middle of the living room so the house would be warm when all of his family got up to greet the day. Grandpa always came through the door singing. He was very happy to have all of his children home with their families, and especially his grandchildren. I thought it was such a nice way to start the day. There I was sleeping next to that tree with beautiful colored lights, and a fresh pine aroma, and listening to my happy grandpa greet the day in song. That is still a wonderful memory in my heart.
But I also have to mention the moment of coming down the aisle of my home church on my Dad’s arm. I was wearing a beautiful borrowed wedding gown and carrying a white bible with a purple Orchid on it. I saw my Jim standing there waiting for me. We had been separated for nine long months while he completed his first year of seminary where he would eventually get a Master’s degree in Chicago, while I finished my last year of college in San Diego. I saw him watching me, and I was thinking that from here on out we would be together in life.
Then there was the time our first little baby was born. A pretty little girl lay in my arms looking up at me. She had dark hair, weighed 7lbs 5 oz. and was 21 inches tall. She was perfect. That sweet little face was our beautiful daughter. I tried to imagine who she looked like but gave up. She looked like her own precious little self, and I thanked God for her. This would be repeated four times in our life together, each with a little boy. Each was a part of me and a part of Jim, and parts of many, many before us. Each time my heart was overflowing with love and thankfulness. God was really blessing us.
These were certainly happy times that could not be left out. Family and love is indeed the source of the happiest times of our lives.