Publisher’s Corner

JB Lester

My Greatest Holiday Memory

The holidays bring back memories of more than sugar plums and reindeer. I have had 67 Christmases and of course can only remember about 64 of those. Old photos and videos certainly help. And I wanted to write about “my favorite Christmas” this year, but it is almost impossible to choose. There were so many great Christmas mornings with my brother and sister growing up. Stringing popcorn and cranberries (yes we actually did that). Our dog Ringo was around to snatch up any popcorn remnants. Then as an adult putting up the baby gate so our daughters Natalie 4 and Stephanie 2 1/2 couldn’t sneak into the living room to see what Santa had brought before I was out of bed and in place with the camcorder, ready to document the wonder on their faces. Good times. And the food. Oh, my. But how can I choose one special Christmas in my life? Then I remembered probably the most wonderful and amazing Christmas of all. I had been dating Niki for several months and I had a feeling she was “the one.” But she moved back from St. Louis to Los Angeles to help her father with his business. Oh, the phone bills. I missed her so much. So for Christmas of 1988 we decided to meet up in Colorado, halfway between our respective homes. My sister Jill and brother-in-law Frank suggested we all go to Beaver Creek, Colorado for some skiing. We were able to stay at our Uncle Jim’s fancy condo (next door to President Gerald Ford’s condo). I was really looking forward to seeing my long-distant love again. The scene was set, beautiful Beaver Creek with fresh snow falling. I put on downhill skis for the first time in my life. Niki had downhilled many times growing up. But for the most part, Jill and Frank and I were cross country skiers. So needless to say, this vacation was a challenge. But I was with my love and I had a secret. I liked the scenic ski lift up the mountain but was dreading coming back down the slope. I had no idea what I was doing. When the lift got to the top, I even fell while I was getting off. Not a good sign. After mustering up some courage, we stood and looked down the black diamond slope and I almost lost my breakfast. The green slope was more our style. Or so I thought. As Niki zig-zagged her way down the slope like someone out of a James Bond movie, I couldn’t even snow plow correctly and spent a lot of time on my butt. We were about half way down the slope when Niki came to my rescue for the umpteenth time. Before she could help me to my feet, I struggled up to one knee and reached into my ski jacket pocket and pulled out a slightly snowy velvet box with an engagement ring. Fresh powder snow was falling and the scene couldn’t have been more beautiful. A skier’s perfect day. Right out of a Hallmark movie. Now 30 years later I look back on all my Christmases and I realize my greatest holiday of all was in the snow at Beaver Creek. For someone who was the last person who should have been on that ski slope that winter of 1988, I ended up with the best run of my life. I haven’t been downhill skiing since. After that, why would I? I already won the gold medal!

Happy Holidays, JB Lester