In the wintertime, there is no better place to be than in the country at Christmas. Every year when Christmas finally gets here, I go back in time and think about all the times my family would go to the country. I mean way back in the country.

Every Sunday Dad, Mom and I would go to Grandma and Grandpa's house. We lived in Pittsfield, Illinois, and Grandma and Grandpa lived way back in the woods in southern Calhoun County, Illinois. How far back? Let's just say it was a place where you could get away from it all. Grandma and Grandpa's house had no running water or electricity. I do remember Grandpa had a couple of old flashlights that we used to go to the bathroom, but it wasn't a bathroom, it was an outhouse. That's right. If you had to go to the bathroom, you had to go outside and use the outhouse. Corn cobs were around if you needed them.

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The best part about going to Grandma and Grandpa's house in the winter time was cutting down one of the many Christmas trees that was on the farm. And it would be even better when all my aunts, uncles and cousins would show up and play all day in the snow. There was a lot of sled riding, bonfires, and stories told, especially when we got to stay all night and make a weekend of it. It was the kind of weekend that you would have fun every minute of every day. Having all of the family there at one time made everything perfect.

If I had one wish, it would be for all of us to get back together one more time and see all of our family in that beautiful Christmas setting. I miss the fun, the laughter, the snow fights, and the feeling that Christmas would never end. That feeling is way down inside of me, it will never leave me, that feeling that you are truly a family, together forever. There is no better feeling in the world. I miss those days so much.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!