Thursday, December 22, 2011

Contents: Sleigh Bells!

"Late at night on Christmas Eve, she carried us each to our high bedroom, and darkened the room, and opened the window, and held us awed in the freezing stillness, saying -- and we could hear the edge of tears in her voice -- 'Do you hear them? Do you hear the bells, the little bells, on Santa's sleigh?' We marveled and drowsed, smelling the piercingly cold night and the sweetness of Mother's warm neck, hearing in her voice so much pent emotion, feeling the familiar strength in the crook of her arms,and looking out over the silent streetlights and the chilled stars over the rooftops of the town. 'Very faint and far away -- can you hear them coming?' And we could hear them coming, very faint and far away,the bells on the flying sleigh."

from An American Childhood (37 - 38)
by Annie Dillard (b. 1945)

When we moved from Philadelphia back to Indiana in 2004, I made one bad packing mistake: I left behind my red leather sleigh bell strap. See it hanging there on the door knob? The last thing I intended to pack, but I forgot.
Our house in Indiana just didn't feel right without that jingle each time we opened and shut the door. So I wrote to my dear friend and realtor, Melani. She and her son Scott paid a visit to the new owners of our Philly house, retrieved the bells, packaged them up and sent them through the mail in the box that you see above.

I've hung on to this special box for seven years now and take it out each December along with my Christmas decorations. It's a seasonal reminder of Melani and Scott's kindness and a symbol of the joy that comes with recovering such a treasured item that you fear is gone forever. That which was lost is found! Thanks Melani & Scott!

Click to View

Speaking of sleigh bells, when I sent this "White Christmas" e-card by Jacquie Lawson to my sister Peg, she wrote back:

"Thank you so much for the e-card. It's beautiful and shows one of the things that's on my bucket list; sleigh ride in a horse drawn sleigh in the snow. No tires, just the sleigh runners. I had a bucket list long before there was such a term and that one is right at the top, and there's still time for Ron to help me make the sleigh ride happen."

And I replied: "Now, about that sleigh ride, I have to tell you the most amazing thing that happened one snowy December night back in 1985 when I was walking across the Notre Dame campus with some friends. We honest to god saw a one - horse open sleigh pass by right in front of our eyes! We were so stunned! Had we imagined that? Was it Santa Claus? Had we been transported to another place and time for a split second? Even now, I have to wonder!

"Come to find out, one of the campus organizations was sponsoring the rides as a fund raiser. They had found some place (an Amish farm?) where you could hire the horse, sleigh, and driver to actually come to campus and give rides to students. So, yes, it turned out there was a logical explanation, but still it remains one of my most magical memories.

"All that to say -- YES! -- go out and find that sleigh and take that ride! Tell Ron that's what you want for Christmas!"

shall be engraved on the bells of the horses."
Zechariah 14:20

~ A Bible verse about sleigh bells! Who knew? ~

Check out these wonderfully nostalgic images!

1 comment:

  1. “I had been my whole life a bell,
    and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”

    from _Pilgrim at Tinker Creek_
    by Annie Dillard (b. 1945)

    "What a marvel it was that so many times a day the world,
    like a church bell, reminded me to recall and contemplate
    the durable fact that I was here, and I had awakened once more
    to find myself set down in a going world" (17).

    from _An American Childhood_
    by Annie Dillard (b. 1945)

    "The air broke into a mist with bells."
    from “The Patriot: An Old Story”
    by Robert Browning (1812 – 1889)