The After Christmas Party

My aunt, my cousin, my dad and I were all piled up in my aunt’s mini van, on our way to my grandma’s annual Christmas party in Chicago. The roads were covered in sleet and snow. We were about 100 miles outside of St. Louis, when we slid across the highway and crashed into the metal divider. My cousin Joanna and I were asleep. She woke up to my dad yelling “hold on kids!” and I woke up to her screaming and shaking me. We both saw lots of snow and metal.
I did not scream. I just kept wondering if this was it. Was I going to die in the back of a mini van with these people? That did not seem like a possibility for me. I was much more afraid of being maimed or stuck in a cold and uncomfortable situation with not enough food. We got lucky.When we hit the divider with the back of the car, it pushed us back out onto the road. We were all very happy not to have been stuck in a ditch. Thanks to my aunt’s skillful driving, we did not die or become paralyzed or deformed at all. We drove slowly to the next exit and got off the highway.
We parked in a Denny’s parking lot and got out to look at the van. A big chunk was missing from the back. We all knew we had just barely escaped death, yet we did not realize the full gravity of the situation until we went inside of Denny’s. It was 8am on a Sunday and it was empty. That was not a good sign. Sunday is Denny’s big day. My dad said all of the regulars must have died on their way over. We decided not to get back on the road and go to Chicago.
Sitting at Denny’s, our hearts still beating fast from all the excitement, I realized how much I love being in crisis situations. It is like sprinting without actually having to run. There is a lot of adrenaline involved, followed by a long period of sitting around eating and talking about what just happened. Yesterday, we told the story of our accident to anyone who came near us. Lots of french toast, pancakes and eggs were eaten. Then we checked into a hotel and slept all afternoon. When we woke up, the sun was shining and the roads were clear. We drove back to my aunt’s house in St. Louis, cuddled under blankets on the couch, ordered gourmet pizza and played cards. I thought it was a pretty great day.


4 thoughts on “The After Christmas Party

  1. I loved it. It brought back a Christmas memory of mine where my Dad and I were traveling to my sister’s in the rain . The car broke down….. next to the gas station where we took the car to be fixed was a K-mart. We had a lot of fun shopping for more Christmas presents while they were fixing the car. It was exciting. One of your many gifts is that people can relate to your stories!!!!! I have not thought of this wonderful memory of my Dad in years. Thank you for that Honey _ _ _ _


  2. Talking about spinning a situation!!!…i guess it is to close to home for me to laugh…but once again your ability to tell a story any way you want amazes me…i love you


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