Our 24th Christmas together is here. Has it been that long? I can still remember, as if it were yesterday, getting off the plane in Kansas City and driving up to St Joseph for this first time. It was cold, very cold, and snow was on the ground. Dark, cloudy, and blustery. Priding myself on following directions (this was long before nav systems!) I pulled up to a cozy rancher on a short street with a school at the end. Knocked on the door, and Mr. Borghoff appeared, with these words: "Welcome, David."
And there was the entire Borghoff family! Alma, who always acted a little shy but was easily the wisest and toughest of the bunch, Sandra and Karen, the older and younger sisters, eager to appraise the "New York Jew", and, of course, my wife to be, decked out in one of her famous, and thankfully now packed away, Christmas sweaters. It was quite a lot for me to take in at one time, let me tell you!
And now, these years later, we miss it so much. It was always a good time — lots of laughs, not many tears or shouting, few surprises, but even fewer disappointments. The trips to the Plaza in Kansas City. The nighttime drive around Krug Park. The big party at Bob and Janet's, featuring refreshments taken on ping pong tables. The many trips up and down the basement stairs, loaded with presents while Alma and Cherie kept up late Christmas eve, wrapping and reminiscing.
Christmas morning. Presents stacked waist high in the seldom used living room (where the second Christmas tree resides.) We each had our own place to sit, carefully refined over the years. As the family grew, some of the younger, and some of the more picky, stood during the gift exchange. Then it was off to church (second time in two days) and then the party for the aunts.
There was a particularly nice time for me, when the three sisters went off to visit friends or their own homes, and just Alma, Floyd and I were left behind on Scott Street. Soon Floyd and I would depart for our annual Christmas drive along the neighborhoods of St Joseph, but, for a time, the three of us got to rest, and got to know a bit about each other. It was peaceful there, in the family room with Mr. and Mrs. Borghoff. I hope they knew how well I thought of them, and I wish them another Merry Christmas, as we all remember them, and thank them for their grace and kindness. Merry Christmas.