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Oceans For Emotions: Stirring up Christmas memories

By By Elaine Wheat
Dec. 14, 2012 at 6:14 a.m.


"To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to weep and a time to laugh."

- Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

Christmas seems to stir up memories of times past. Some are happy, some sad and some both.

My mom and I were sitting around in our house in Goliad feeling terribly sorry for ourselves. Budgie, my mom's nickname, and I were alone together for the first Christmas since she had lost her husband through death and her son-in-law through divorce.

I was alone because I had lost Dad from a death that he couldn't help and a husband by divorce. Every time we put away one of my children's Christmas presents that they had received the night before on Christmas Eve, we would look at each other through teary eyes with a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.

When I, folding the red sweatshirt I had planned to give my dad that he didn't live long enough to wear, couldn't stand this walloring and wailing any longer and announced that I am wearing this sweatshirt and said, "Budgie you put on your red sweatshirt, and we are going fishing." And she said, "Good idea!"

We loaded my car with the fastest fish drill ever seen with daddy's fishing tackle, but we no longer felt helpless and hopeless. We felt help and hope because we were heading to our ocean. Nothing could satisfy our lust, so we headed right on down to Port Aransas. We kept getting quiet and misty-eyed on the way down there, and you could tell that we were thinking of fishing and Christmas times past. But as we made our way through the sand dunes and saw those white waves waving at us, no Christmas garland would look more beautiful.

As always, we caught fish, a few croakers, sand trout, specs and dots. Suddenly, simultaneously, we both had heavy hits on each of our lines at the same time and we cried out in chorus, "Shark!" As we tried to pull our catch in, they seemed to get heavier and heavier and we realized that they were tangled together. We had to put the rods over our shoulders and our backs to the gulf and walk up the beach, pulling our catch out far enough away from the water so that our stupid sharks wouldn't try to jump back in.

We started crying again, wishing for our husbands to help us, and we just sat there on the sand watching the sharks wrestle themselves into a big mono-filament ball.

Two concerned men came walking up in their street clothes, and you could tell they weren't fishermen when they asked if we were all right and what kind of fish are those? Budgie looked at them and said, "We are good and so are the shark and good to eat. We'll give them to you all wrapped up in mono-filament as Christmas presents and you can take them to the motel." They didn't have an ice chest. My mom then said, "You can just put them into your trunk until you get back to Corpus.

Then, you can ice them down in the motel with motel ice. Be careful, they may bite."

We cut the lines, leaving enough that they could carry them. They went away like the shepherds of old, praising us and saying, peace on Earth, good will to men.

Just as we had wept all the to Port Aransas, we laughed all the way home.

Dear Lord, that is the only time I ever saw Budgie do anything wrong on purpose. But God, I do think I heard you laugh from heaven when she quoted your scripture, "That wasn't a lie; it was a very present help in time of trouble."

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