(A couple of weeks ago I received a Secret Santa gift. It was a beautiful, handcrafted treasure box and a sled pin. When I saw the pin I couldn't help but smile and remember this happy snapshot.)
A big part of Sundays during my childhood were walks in the forest. We all loaded up in the family car, my parents, two brothers, one sister and me, and then headed to a nearby forest. That forest still is beautiful. Trees and heather all come together to show off a beautiful, ice-age carved area.
One winter day we brought our big family sled on one of those walks. It darted behind us as we walked, slowly, through a thick layer of snow. When we arrived on top of a small bump in the land, my father sat down on the sled and put my little sister in front of him. He gave the sled a push and then raced down the hill, only to find out he couldn't steer the thing. We all laughed and laughed as the sled finally managed to stop in some shrubs. The only thing wounded was my father's pride.
I don't think he minded, given that he laughed the hardest of all.
On Boxing Day we headed out east to spend Christmas with my side of the family. Before we headed to the party, I really wanted to go visit my dad.
When we entered the common room in his ward of the nursing home, he looked up at me, and told the woman next to him, "Look, it's my little sister."
I gave him a little kiss on his cheek and said, "No, it's me, Sylvia. I am your daughter."
He looked at me with eyes that didn't recognize and told me some incoherent things. I had no idea what he meant. He again said I was his sister. I took off the hat I was wearing, thinking it looked just like the hat his sister had on in an old yellowed picture of her that he always had with him.
Then I decided to do something I used to torment him with as a child. I tickled his calves. He immediately giggled and said, "Noooooo! Stooooooooooop!!!!!!".
I said, "One more time!" I tickled again, he laughed and laughed and looked at me with a real smile. His eyes sparkled as he said, "Not anymore! You wench!"
We left soon after. I kissed his cheek and said, "Bye dad."
He smiled and said, "Bye Sylvia!"