December 25, 2013

FROM THE ARCHIVES: SAW IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE:

The Creche By The Side of the Road (Gerard Van der Leun, 12/30/03, American Digest)

It was long past sunset when our yearly Christmas pilgrimage to our families around Sacramento sent us climbing up the Grapevine. My wife
was driving because my eyes don’t adjust quickly to oncoming headlights and because she is, by far, the better driver. My stepson was wedged
within a small mountain of bags and presents in the back seat, his cherubic face illuminated by the gray-blue glow of his Gameboy.

I gazed out the window at the churning wall of trucks and the slate black slopes. Heavy cloud cover made everything more obscure. Only the streams of headlights coming on and the endless red flares of brake lights in front of us broke the darkness. It was the nadir of the year, two days before Christmas, climbing between dark mountains with millions of others, most aiming at some destination filled with the rituals of the season; rituals that seemed, as they often do, mere experiences bereft of any meaning.

It came up fast and passed faster as things often do up on the Grapevine. It was vague at first. A dim smudge of light in the middle of a looming dark hillside. Then it resolved itself as we sped up on it at around 70 miles per hour. We came abreast and I saw it clearly for only a few brief seconds. It was that rarest of all this season’s sights, a roadside nativity scene.


[originally posted: 2003-12-30]


Posted by at December 25, 2013 6:00 AM
  

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