A Most Unusual Christmas Story

The Three Wise Helmraths travelled to the north, following the brightest light, that of Google Maps. Their journey was hurried because the littlest Helmrath was so very, very unhappy, most likely because she’d forgotten her frankincense at home. Her cries filled their carriage until Mother Helmrath fed her half a box of graham crackers and then sat in the backseat, all the better to make silly faces at her.

And it was good.

They visited with relatives until it was time to continue their trek to the (Marriott Residence) Inn. There was room and no one had to sleep in a stable.

And it was good.

Hunger soon gnawed at their bellies, and they crossed the rainy parking lot to Margaritas, for there was a kid’s menu and the chimichangas sounded really good. But it was Christmas Eve, and Margaritas’ employees had a kind manager who decreed they would turn away all those seeking food, and instead return home to their families. Unless you want a drink at the bar? Because we’re still open for fifteen more minutes.

Once more they turned their faces to the light of Google Maps, searching for “restaurants near me open on Christmas Eve.” But their search was in vain, unless they wanted McDonalds or Wendy’s or something like that, and Mother Helmrath really did not want to feed the littlest Helmrath french fries for dinner.

Their journey continued until what to their wondering eyes should appear, but the soft, welcoming glow of the Hannaford’s sign. Once more they leapt out into the rain with the littlest, grumpiest, hungriest Helmrath, and approached the store.

“Are you still open?” they asked the manager standing outside, as shoppers streamed from the store and unloaded their bounty into their cars.

“You have three minutes,” he said.

It was a REALLY FAST shopping trip.

And it was good.

They returned to the Inn bearing gifts of pasta, spaghetti sauce, and bread, praising God for having the foresight to rent a room with a kitchenette.

Their humble meal did not disappoint, not even the littlest Helmrath, who shoveled an astounding amount pasta and bread into her mouth until her belly was full.

2014-12-24 18.44.23 And it was good.

The littlest Helmrath slept then, nestled in her pack and play with visions of ham and eggs dancing in her head. Mother and Father Helmrath watched How to Train Your Dragon with the volume very, very low, and soon fell asleep themselves. Until two in the morning, when the littlest Helmrath stirred. And stirred again. And kept making this weird almost-crying noise but didn’t actually stand up and is she even awake? And so it continued for nigh an hour and a half, when she finally rested her head once more.

And it was good.

The Three Wise Helmraths ALL slept til 8 a.m.

And it was REALLY good.

They broke their fast with waffles and mediocre scrambled eggs, and left the Inn to join the Christmas celebration with their families. They ate and laughed and opened presents and ate some more. When it was time to go home, they all received hugs and kisses and warm smiles, and some lasagna in a take-out box.

2014-12-25 13.40.44 The littlest Helmrath rested her weary head in her carseat, and slumbered nearly all the way home.

It was a Christmas most unusual.

And it was good.2014-12-25 13.53.37

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