My Best Christmas Ever

I got married in 1982,
days after the completion of
my husband’s first treatment
for Hodgkin’s disease.
We moved to Arizona that
summer where,
by Christmas,
he was back in the hospital.
I was 23
in our apartment
boohooing to Jim on the phone
in his hospital bed
about spending Christmas alone.
Come and get me, he said.
And, I did.
Very Bonnie & Clyde like,
in the Mazda station wagon
he won in a poker game
the night before our wedding.
It sounds selfish on my part,
but it taught me the distinction
between taking care of
and being cared for.
I did a lot of necessary care taking.
Jim’s act of rebellion
was an act of love
and caring for.
We went from the hospital to
the movie theater
and saw two movies back-to-back,
Once Upon a Time in America
and another I can’t remember,
but wish I could.
We had dinner at a
Jewish deli,
the only thing open on
Christmas in Arizona in 1982.
I dropped Jim back at the hospital
and he continued his treatment.
It’s a story my kids love to hear
about their dad,
the gambler, the rule-breaker,
and my best Christmas ever.

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