It was in the third year of the term of Jimmy Carter as president. The birth that was anticipated was not in the holy family but in my family. Brenda was “great with child” and it was Christmas eve. She was carrying our firstborn, and we worried — as all expectant mothers and fathers do — if all of the fingers and toes would be in place, if the child would be okay, and how the mother would survive the ordeal.
I wondered if the father would survive. I wondered what would happen if Brenda suddenly went into labor during the middle of Christmas eve services. We escaped unscathed that night and our Christmas present from the stork arrived two days later.
It was the next day, Christmas day, that Brenda and I both remember so vividly as one of the most difficult in our married life. Being “great with child” we weren’t about to venture out of the immediate range of the obstetrician. Yet it was the first Christmas we would spend without being in the homes of our family. We felt the homing instinct stronger than any swallows returning to Capistrano or snow birds lighting on the sands of west central Florida. Like salmon that would fight upstream to return to their own spawning grounds, we wanted to fight Interstate 95 upstream, and knew that we would be okay if we could just get home.