It's Christmas morning, 2018. Warm for Christmas morning in north Alabama. The sounds I associate with long ago Christmas mornings, kids on new skates, kids learning how to operate new toys, kids laughing and playing, have been replaced by nothing... nothing human that is.
An hour ago, as I filled the bird feeders and scattered peanuts for the squirrels and "Baker Street" (three groups of blue jays who love raw, in the shell Virginia peanuts) the only sounds I heard were me rattling the bird seed can and Baker Street warning the squirrels to stay away from their peanuts.
The Christmas sounds of kids playing outside with new toys only exists in my mind and maybe in a parallel universe that isn't running close enough to this one for me to access this morning.
For me, the only bit of Christmas past that seems to be part of this Christmas morning is the last paragraph of Wallace Stegner's short story, The Traveler. I've pasted it below, but before you read it, you should know this, these words have the power to become a permanent Christmas memory for you. These words could even erase any feeling of loss you are experiencing around the absence of the source of your childhood Christmas memories - Now, if you are willing to risk that, read on: