Friday, December 24, 2010


I Believe!

I had a brush with anger yesterday. OK. Maybe this is more accurate. I had a full on episode of intensely embracing anger yesterday. Here's the story . . .
There's a canyon here and an old time railroad that runs through it. Every Christmas season, they run a special route to the North Pole. Yep, true. I've always thought about taking a trip with fellow believers. The expense (it's steep), getting tickets (demand is great) and making time (mine is usually locked up) made it challenging. This year was gonna be different.
For months Presley has been watching The Polar Express. She talks often of Tickets and Conductors and Bells and Santa Claus and Believing. She even talked me into buying the Josh Groban Believe song and knows how to pull it up on my iPhone. With some "off call" time, I had to make the train trip happen. I started my ticket watch in early November. Before Thanksgiving even, we scored! 4 round trip tickets to The North Pole on December 23, 2:00 pm! The count down of days began.
The day came. Carson's mama packed his bag; they said their goodbyes. He cried a little. Presley came in decked and ready, fat coat, hat and hood, snow boots on.
"Aren't you too warm little girl?"
"No, Grammy, there's ice there."
We gave ourselves 2 hours to make the one hour trip to Heber City. After a quick stop for Happy Meals we were off!
As soon as we merged on to the freeway, I sensed trouble. Traffic was crawling about 15-20 mph. What in the world? Thinking it must be a bad accident my heart felt for those involved. The way the patrolmen were keeping the road clear looked like prep for a helicopter landing. After an hour of that, (now my believers were fighting in the back seat), it was clear there was no accident. UDOT had some mid day project going on. Even in Li'l Red, I was going to have a hard time making it to Heber City at the requested pre-boarding time. Finally, it eased up and I sped up 80+. Within a few minutes we were stopped again. Uggh! We were trapped and we were beyond late. We tried to find the phone number for the train depot. At least someone else could have our spot. Maybe there were cancellations on a later train. I don't know what I wanted them for. Something. Didn't matter. They didn't answer.
Traffic still clogged up at 2 pm. Presley's back there unaware of the problem. I'm not gonna be the one to tell her there is one, a serious one. She wants me to play the Believe song. I can't. It's not true. None of it, no matter how many times Josh sings it so. In my head I'm writing a letter to UDOT. I'm gonna let the geniuses there know that they ruined my Christmas. Chuck's trying to explain traffic construction and implications to me and about contractor's fines and choosing to hold the public up and pay the piper later and blah, blah, blah. I said something back like "...and I'm writing my letter on J-U-B letterhead and I'm sorry if you lose UDOT as a client but They Are Evil!"
Up ahead, a mile ahead, there was an emergency exit. Chuck suggested we take it, turn around, go home, call it a day. Are you kidding me??? I'm going to the train depot. I will not tell Presley we missed the train. I will not go home! We are going to find Santa Claus if we have to walk to the stop in Soldier Hollow (aka The North Pole). I cried a little under my sun glasses. Pres and Carson made up silly songs. Loud silly songs. I drove on.
We arrived at the Depot at 3:00. I had rehearsed my speech to whoever there would listen. A young girl at the ticket counter heard it first. I picked Presley Believer up in my arms, figuring her face would help with dramatic effect. My speech, spoken calmly: "We are in a very bad mood, a very sad mood. I know it is not your fault so don't take this personally. We missed our 2:00 train. When it comes back here can these 2 little children please get on and at least sit in a seat and look around? Answer: "No, they'll be cleaning it up." Hmmm, dramatic effect not working. I continue. "Well, where will Santa be? Can they see him?" Still No. I guess he stays at the North Pole. This girl is not getting my desperation. Now I start losing my calmness and start in on how I tried to call and your phones are all clogged up and what's with that on a day like this and did anyone else miss the train because of UDOT filling potholes in the middle of the day. She at least apologizes and says it's very busy here, ya know.
I back up and reassess what has become my emotional train wreck. OK. The adjoining gift shop and the nice lady working there. New speech: "Hi. We missed our 2:00 train and we are very sad. Can you tell me what souvenirs Santa gives the children, maybe sell me some?" She is paying attention and FINALLY someone gets it and responds compassionately. Ohhhh, no. Yes, I know what he gives them and I could wrap some up for you. How many children? She looks at Carson and Presley. Dramatic effect working. Wait! Let me go find the Depot manager.

They return. Depot manager looks a little like Mrs. Claus. (Turns out she is married to him!). She looks at the kids and says to me, "Be back here at quarter to 5 and I'll get you on the next train." I question. "Will we be stand by or are we ON?" She replies that we will be on the train! I look at the store clerk. She softly says, "It's all about believing." I start crying again. We both look at Presley. I say something like, "yeah, that 4 year old, she believes."
So does her grammy.

believe in what your heart is saying
hear the melody that's playing
there's no time to waste
there's so much to celebrate
believe in what you feel inside
and give your dreams the wings to fly
you have everything you need
if you just


Toners said...

What a story. I admire your calm, I can't say I'd have been that calm!

What a beautiful day for two believers. :) You're a fantastic Grammy!

karen★ said...

What a beautiful story to read on Christmas
Eve. You definitely left me with some sweet tears of Christmas joy in my eyes. I truly hope that my four little boys will always know that it's all about believing.

auntgigi said...

Okay, your posts are making me cry every day!!!! I even knew this story before I read it, and I still cried! I think it was the pic of Presley and Carson at the end. It's all about believing.

lovely lindsay said...

today i love: four year old's
christmas IS magic.
love, lin

Kim said...

Oh Cathy! You've made my eyes leak. Thank you for sharing this great story!! We all need to remember to believe!! Oh and by the way... you were right about those Christmas babies. Caught a little man early early this morning and it was magical. Christmas lights only and a lovely mix of instrumental Christmas music throughout the room. Joyous Joyous!!

diane said...

♥ ♥ ♥

Janice said...

Oh, Cathy, my Sister, I don't know what made me cruise around my favorites and see your blog and decide to visit. I start reading your story and begin reading faster and faster, and at the end, I have tears streaming down my face. What wonderful gifts you give to your children and grandbabies... gifts of loving them enough to forge ahead, not giving up, the gift of not helping them to believe, but of you believing. You my Kindred Spirit have made my evening. Peace and Love... Jan aka brthlady... :)