Imwalle Christmas

December 10, 2010 at 9:55 AM 4 comments

This weekend, we are going to celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!! Oh, what’s that you say? I have the date wrong? Well, technically, I do. But, let’s not got technical. You see “Imwalle Christmas” all began when my dad got sick. Now that we are all married, we rotate families for holidays. In 2008, it was our year with our significant other families. But dad was sick and even though the chemo was working wonders and dad was feeling great, I felt that we should have a fake Christmas together, just in case. So, we picked a date and got the whole family down to Los Altos for a weekend exactly identical to real Christmas – but it was mid December.

That was the greatest thing that I have ever organized as a family get together. The day was perfect – filled with laughter, excitment over gift giving and sweet speeches and moments. Sunday evening, the rest of the family went to their respective homes. But Graham and I were staying with Mom and Dad (at this point we lived in Chicago). Mom was exhausted from the festivities and promptly went to bed. Which left my dad, Graham and I to sit in the living room by the fire and chit chat. We stayed up until about 1 AM laughing and telling stories. I relished our jokes piling up on top of one another as our laughter grew stronger with each passing moment.

We even made up a club – the Five F-ers. This was a club that we planned to take on the road and compete with 4 H – we were upping them by having five instead of four and by having a far superior letter: F. We were going to poach other people at 4H meetings and really get a great Five F-er following. Since we would be on the road, we would bring our livestock with us in our big van. It was a very well thought out plan – complete with a pledge. One that I pledge to never reveal. You have to be a member….

The next day, Graham and I went with Dad out to breakfast. We were up to a new trick that dad had thought up. We were going to go the entire breakfast without speaking but totally communicating to one another with our hands (although we brought the newspaper as a back up). The poor waitress was not pleased when we ordered by pointing but we thought we were hilarious.

The next stop the three of us went to get dad’s blood drawn for his next round of chemo. It was so clear that he was the nurses favorite patient. They chatted about her holiday plans as it took dozens of different needle pokes to get a vein. Dad was totally unphased by all of this and was ready for his next adventure with his two sidekicks.

We then headed down to Patagonia store where we convinced dad that he looked cool in a puff jacket – which he did. At first he refused to have a “sissy jacket” like that but once he put it on, he refused to take it off. Chemo had made him so cold and he was about to go on a hunting trip with his buddies. We also bought Mom all the things she had pointed out to me as liking but didn’t buy for herself. Dad bought mom and I matching puff jackets. Graham already owned one so we became the Patagonia Puff Jacket Gang.

After the Patagonia shop, Dad had to stop by his office and drive all the way to Santa Cruz to check on his wine. He had a very filled day for someone whose going to chemo every other week. And yet, as soon as he got home, he said, “let’s go out to dinner”. At dinner, we recounted all of our shananagins to Mom like the proud little rebels that we were.

Perhaps these memories seem a bit “everyday” to retell. But that Imwalle Christmas was by far and away the best Christmas of my life. My dad knew Graham the least out of all of his in-laws just because he knew him the shortest amount of time.  And once married, we had to move to Chicago and they didn’t get to see much of each other.  They both loved each other dearly.  That’s why those two days were two of the most special days of my life. Just the three of us – hitting up the town, making jokes, and doing whatever we pleased.

Dad also gave Graham a fly rod at the Imwalle Christmas. Fishing equipment was his way of saying “welcome to the family;” Graham was overjoyed to receive such a moving gift and he always thinks of my dad when he’s out on the river.

I am forever blessed with that Imwalle Christmas. When Graham and I returned from real Christmas in Hawaii (which was wonderful), Dad and Mom picked us up from the airport; on the drive home from the airport, Dad exhibited his first sign the cancer had gone to the brain. What a blessing to have had those two days. We love you and miss you, Dad!

Five F-ers Forever!

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mom  |  December 10, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Kate, a very special blog. You did an excellent job of telling the story of that Christmas and of starting the tradition of Imwalle Christmas. We will have another one tomorrow and it will be fun.

  • 2. Beatrice  |  December 10, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Thanks for sharing that wonderful weekend with your faithful readers.
    Your dad was very special

  • 3. Glynnis  |  December 10, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Happy Imwalle Christmas tomorrow and thanks for sharing your lovely memories. Your Dad was such a character and, like Graham, I too wish that I’d had time to know him better.

  • 4. Miles  |  December 10, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Kate, thanks for sharing with all. I’ve heard the story, but excellent re-telling here. Will be a fun weekend! And Merry Imwalle Christmas to all!


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