Every year for the past 16 years my family and I have eaten sandwiches for Christmas dinner. It is not that we don’t like ham, turkey or beef…we eat the sandwiches because of a special memory from the Christmas Eve ice storm of 1998.
A major ice storm struck central and southeast Virginia beginning on Wednesday, December 23, 1998 and lasted until Friday, December 25, Christmas Day. Icy conditions caused injuries from slips and falls and numerous vehicle accidents. Ice accumulations of up to an inch brought down trees and power lines. Outages were so widespread (400,000 customers on Christmas Eve) that some people were without power for up to ten days.
We were living in Midlothian, Virginia on the “southside” of Richmond, VA. I was working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car and when I awoke that morning, it looked as though “Jack Frost” had taken over the whole world. The trees were covered with icicles. I decided to go for it and started up the car and headed to work. Sometime during the day, the power went out and we rented cars on paper and did our best. We were supposed to close up early that day, but we were delayed with customer for several hours after closing.
Meanwhile, Sharon and our two children (ages 2 and 3) were at home when the power went out and as the day went on, she began to worry as I was not home yet. She had gone to the store the day before and bought all the fixings for sandwiches. She ended up going across the street to the neighbors house who welcomed her and the children into their warm home.
When I finally arrived home there was a note that Sharon and the kids were across the street. We stayed there for a bit and then went back home. I got the bright idea to start up the barbecue grill. As I was heating up the grill the power came back on in our house! We were so happy. We ended up eating sandwiches and had one of the best Christmases of our memory.
So tonight as I sat tonight with my family, watching movies and eating sandwiches in Colorado, I am drawn back to that story that we tell everyone when they ask why we have sandwiches for Christmas dinner.
Merry Christmas to you and yours! May your memories stay with you for years to come!