It was magical — like that of a voice coming from the heavens: “Merry Christmas, Kenny!”

We had just pulled into the Kansas City Railroad Depot. There were Christmas lights everywhere, and Christmas carols filled the air waves, like that of permeating the whole world with the spirit of Christmas. And all at once, there was this hush of total silence. The silence was deafening as I heard my name being spoken.

A little boy, only 5 years old, never before away from home, it was just too much to take it all in. I realize now that the whole stint had been orchestrated by my Uncle Edgar, but hearing your name being announced over the PA system, for all to hear, seemed bigger than life.

Our parents had been planning this trip from North Dakota for more than a year. My younger sister, Ardell and I were getting more excited as each passing day drew us closer to Christmas. Mom and Dad weren’t really any better, as they planned with so much detail to make this a trip of a lifetime.

After all, this was my Dad’s brother, a prominent Christian minister in Kansas City. How much more pressure could there be to make a favorable impression?

It was such a memorable experience that it will be etched in my mind forever. But I’m forever saddened that our families never stayed close, as lost in the shadows of paths seldom crossed can be a lifetime of unfurled treasures. The treasurers were always there, right out in the open for all to enjoy. But for reasons not fully understood, some of the glitter of life has seemed to blind the inner soul.

Like that of never getting to really know my father’s other brother, Virgil, a civil engineer in Alaska. Just vaguely, on two different occasions did I ever experience any kind of a relationship; once when I was about 3 years old, and another brief visit about fifteen years later. And his beautiful sister, Eula, is but a faded memory of postcards exchanged at Christmas. They have all passed on, but I’ll be forever grateful for their inspiration and example of life, for which I’ve tried to follow.

There are visions of Christmas that were conjured up by a recent visit from my cousin, Carol, also from Alaska. She and her husband, Darrell, were a reminder of all these many years, barley knowing that either of our families existed.

Not that my Dad wasn’t proud to be kin of a minister, engineer, and a beauty, for these are the manna of dreams. But the road of life was traveled intuitively by each, as though the other didn’t exist. (So much for genetics.)

Though I didn’t know my Dad’s family very well, they had to have been driven by fame and fortune, unlike my father who was driven by the independence of a free spirit. He was actually gregariously famous for his community philanthropy  — maybe this makes them equal, each in their own way.

But this family has been a gift to me, each in its own way, most noticeably remembered those 70-plus years ago at Christmas time at a railroad depot.

Isaish 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”