Not Just on the Oregon Trail

Good Christmas Eve to you!

Almost ten years ago this November I was living in Los Angeles. It had been a fun few years but as things sometimes do I woke up one morning, went to work and realized that I was over it. I put in my notice, packed up my tiny room and prepared to spend Thanksgiving with friends (all of whom thought I was absolutely crazy) before driving out with my boyfriend to visit him in Arkansas.

Unfortunately I came down with a raging case of food poisoning from all the many many goodbye meals I had been having. Thanksgiving was a bust as the most I could muster was driving to LAX (which nearly killed me) to pick up the boyfriend. Mostly recovered, that Sunday we jammed as much as we could possibly put into my car and left.

Our road trip was a gigantic disaster. It was evident after the first few days that our relationship wasn’t going to last. But we now had plans and I had to get him home, so off we went into the Deep South.

Less than 100 miles from our final destination (and super eager to be done with this increasingly deteriorating relationship) I suddenly realized the food poisoning was back, and with a vengeance. I broke out in a clammy sweat, suddenly even the woods looked like an appealing bathroom break. No, forget the woods, just the side of the road – traffic or no! Suddenly we came to a strip mall and I headed into the nearest store – a Hobby Lobby. Of course the bathrooms were all the way in the back, and right in the middle of the store I wondered if I would make it all that way. Thankfully, I did. After an hour in the bathroom, my parents said I should really go to Urgent Care, this was getting out of hand.

A trip to the Urgent Care turned into a trip to the ER, which turned into another four hours of waiting, which finally ended in a diagnosis of severe dysentery. One glorious rehydration IV and a big dose of antibiotics later I checked into the closest Hampton Inn, unable to make the last leg of our trip. Ex-boyfriend continued on to many previous responsibilities and left me happily alone to recoup with lots of sleep, yogurt drugs. It was one of the very best three days I’ve ever spent.

When I checked out, a new person and ten pounds lighter, it was the week before Christmas and I found myself staying with friends of friends of friends (strangers). Suddenly all I wanted was to be home. I’d never quite understood the deep ache to be with family over Christmas until that year. It is one of my happiest Christmas memories – when I finally got home, I was recovered, I was happily single, and I finally knew where I wanted to be most in the world.

It’s times like that (and this) when we begin to realize that the only things that truly matter are simpler and better than we could have imagined.

______ Here’s what’s going in town this week _______

Today, Thursday 12/24 – Christmas Eve

Trinity United Methodist: 4-5pm – Drive-through live Nativity @ Christian Ministry Center (start at the North entrance) followed by online zoom service at 7pm (also on KDSJ)

Shepherd of the Hills: Candlelight Services, 5 & 7pm (reservations 722-1206)

Connections Church: 5:30 dinner 6:30 service

First Presbyterian Church: 7pm candlelight service

St. Patrick’s: 6pm Mass


Friday, 12/25 – Merry Christmas!

St. Patrick’s: 10am Christmas Day Mass


Tuesday 12/22 – 7pm, Poker for Fun continues at the Hangar 7 Lounge inside Blackstone Lodge & Suites.

Wednesday 12/23 – 6pm, Trivia at Jailhouse Taps

_____ News & Notes

If you haven’t had a chance to drive around and look at all the great light decorating be sure to check it out! for entrants, good streets and a driving map!

Did you see the sledding hill on the bottom of Manuel Brother’s Park under the conveyor and by the basketball hoops is finished? Now that we have snow it might be a fun thing to do this weekend!


From me, Thomas, Leigha, Butch and our board – we’re wishing you the very best of Christmases!

With Love from Lead,
Sierra Ward

You Might Also Like