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Dad's last Christmas

By Judith Reed, Niantic

Publication: theday.com

Published December 24. 2010 4:00AM

My most memorable Christmas was in 1993. My husband and I lived in Gales Ferry with our three children.

Mom and Dad and my sister who lived in Naugatuck always spent the holidays with us. We all visited awhile before we went to midnight mass.

Dad loved to read the newspaper and, apparently, in turning the pages he knocked one of the Hummel nativity figures over and it broke. He pretended he knew nothing about it.

My daughter drove herself, and my husband, who was a deacon, went ahead of us to church. I drove with Mom and Dad and our sons and my sister.

When we got out of mass, we were surprised to see it had snowed. Though there wasn't much snow, it was slippery, and we lived up a steep hill. The direct route home was blocked by an accident, and we had to try another route. I tried a second steep hill but couldn't even get up because so many other cars were stuck.

I was a wreck by then, and my dad kept making comments not only about my driving but everyone else's as well. He kept it up until Mom finally said, "Joe, be quiet, you're making her nervous."

Thank goodness, after driving only 10 miles an hour or so, we arrived home. I almost kissed the ground, I was so happy to arrive safely. After all his choice comments, my dad even told me I had done a good job.

My dad died suddenly of a heart attack in March, 1994, and none of us had a chance to say goodbye. We still talk about that special Christmas and laugh about all the funny things that happened.

The best part was that we were all together that year.

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