Our Christmas Camelot

Everyone has a Christmas Camelot — that magical moment when you look around a room filled with all the people you love and your heart swells so big it nudges the tear ducts in your eyes.

This year, our Christmas Camelot happened midway through the holidays on a frigid Thursday in Cecil, Wisconsin. Smoke curled out of the chimney and welcomed us all to the cabin, because our son Vinnie and his girlfriend Danni arrived first and Danni builds the best fires.

One by one the cars crunched up the icy path, delivering brothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends, parents, a godfather, a consigliere, and a grandma.

Eventually, the small cabin held a dozen people and we had a little Cram-a-lot going in the kitchen. We enjoyed a simple meal around a big, old wooden table and told the kind of family stories most everyone has heard a hundred times but laughs at just the same.

The stories and the laughter extended into the wee hours of the morning, because everyone wanted to make the most of the one night we’d all have to be together.

I had to leave by 6:30 the following morning and, as I picked my way through the dark cabin and headed toward the door, I kept thinking about the Camelot moments families experience when their lives take them far away from each other.

The distance and the memories make us all increasingly grateful for the times we do get to spend together.

In short, there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot.

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Charlie’s friend of nearly two decades, Ben Bartz, took this picture. Ben is a lawyer (and fellow Appleton North graduate) who moved to New York right around the same time Charlie did. New York is a big and sometimes scary place so we’ve always been grateful Charlie has the young man he calls his consigliere along for the ride. I love this picture of me, my husband, two daughters, two sons and their girlfriends, though, if you look at Charlie (far left in the red jacket) it was soooooo cold on that porch!
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A groupie of the whole gang in front of Danni’s roaring fire. If you start with Vinnie in the middle and go left around the circle, this is Molly, Katherine. Grandma Peggy, Ben, Vince, me, Charlie, Tara, Vinnie’s godfather John Olsen, Julie Olsen and Danni. The whole evening happened somewhat spontaneously when Vinnie and Danni, who couldn’t make it in for Christmas, realized they could come to the cabin for one night (both had to work the next day), which happened to be the day Charlie’s girlfriend Tara flew in from New York. The Olsens and Grandma Peggy headed home after dinner, but the rest of us stayed up until the wee hours of the morning catching up. I’m so glad we could all get together…
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…even though, as I drove away the following morning, my dashboard read -17. Brrrrrrr

2 thoughts on “Our Christmas Camelot

  1. Love your stories Laura! Truly told from the heart! As the years go by and our loved ones grow up and move away it is hard to bring them all together! Cherish each moment and memory! Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks Steph and Happy New Year to you and Mike too! Looking forward to seeing more of you in 2018

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