This is a story from one Christmas out at my mom’s in Granbury, Texas. The array of Christmas scenes set up within the little town library by a group of citizens touched me deeply. The look of my daughter then little totally engrossed in a “winter wonderland” of sorts is still clear in my mind even now. It is in “Notes To My Kids”.
Do you remember one of the Christmases in Granbury? One in particular is still sharp in my memories. That Xmas was the first time we went through the downtown park with all of the lights on the trees and the library that had been turned into a giant, indoor Xmas diorama of sorts.
I remember one night before Xmas when we went walking around the park. The city had trussed the trees with bright strings of lights. The lights hung from the trees in the park, casting warm and soft white light over its grass, playground equipment, and all who walked through it that cold night. The only thing that would have made it more magical would have been the presence of some snow on the ground, which, of course, was very unlikely. The city of Granbury does this display each year, and that year was special to me because all of you were there with me looking at the lights. Like most young boys, Roger was not so engaged by it, but you were. You looked at it with glee, while he walked through the soft glows more stoically like me. But what really got everyone’s attention was what they did to the inside of the library. That sight made both of you kids take notice and me as well.
And what did the library do? Most of the inside of the building was turned into an indoor winter wonderland. Little dioramas, masses of decorations, nativity scenes in miniature, a forest of Christmas trees, and little Christmas towns adorned the place. They called this elaborate production “The Enchanted Forest.”
I remember everyone walking around the place, marveling at the details of the exhibit. You could have spent hours in there and not seen all of the minutiae contained on the tables and shelves. All of it was draped in white tree flock and lit by candles and flickering lights, giving the library a soft and shadowy glow. All in all, it was a big place filled with Yuletide glee, built with a horde of small and beautiful things.
But what was most magical to me was the look on your face. You were perhaps eight or nine and immersed in what you saw and were fascinated with the many small things surrounding you. You walked around in quiet, wide-eyed wonder at the huge panoply of holiday objects around you. Your brother liked it, too; but being a boy, he was not immersed in it as much—his mind was perhaps on other things like the unwrapped presents and gifts at the house.
But yes, that look of little girl wonder on your face was something that still shines bright like the lights in the park did that cold, wintery night. Christmas is a bright and magical time of the year, filled with family ties, gifts, and other delights. But the real present that night was seeing your face: happy and filled with delight, as you walked through an enchanting place with your brother and me. You as a little girl lost in wonder at a joyful place during a happy time of the year is still a bright Christmas light in my mind even now.