Let’s Talk About Love Or: Why Celine Dion Screams Christmas

When I was a kid, unless someone flew in, we never got to spend Christmas with family. We lived on the west coast until I was 4 and then on the east coast until I was 11. Shortly before the beginning of my sixth grade year, we moved to Corpus Christi, Tx and suddenly were within a decent driving distance to Kansas where both sides of our family were still living.

Every year that we lived there, we would made the 16 hour trek up to either Goodland or Leavenworth to spend Christmas with my Dad’s brothers and sisters. And as my Dad is a stubborn, stubborn man, hotels be damned! We would drive the entire way in one go.

I don’t remember much about the actual family time from those 5 trips. The clearest memory I have is of one of the drives home. It was New Years Day and Nathan and I were sitting in the back of Mom and Dad’s car while Dad drove. Being the stubborn man he is, he had decided to completely forgo driving through Austin. Sure, the back ways consisted of more miles, but hey! It was a small price to pay to not be stuck in traffic for an eternity. *

Somewhere between Austin and Corpus Christi, after  I finally managed to nod off for a little while. I woke up to my Mom and brother prodding me and telling me to wake up. It was about 2 am and we had entered a small town about 80 miles away from home. The town consisted of a square and some houses surrounding it. Not a single house or office light was on. There was absolutely no one on the streets except for us. You would think that this was an abandoned town from how quiet everything was.

Until you looked around. Every single house, every building in the square was covered in thousands of Christmas lights. Even the trees were covered in them. The town sparkled as if there was snow covering it. We circled the small town for what felt like an hour until we realized what time it was and that we needed to get home.  And then we circled it once more for good measure.

To this day, I’ve never seen anything like it. We don’t remember what town it was, or even how to get there. For all we know it was a hallucination that we all happened to experience because we were so tired and all we had to eat for hours was some crummy Whataburger. But it will always be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

 So what does this have to do with Celine Dion? Not much. That was the year Dad got her “Let’s Talk About Love” cd. We innocently gave it to him early so he could enjoy it on the way to Kansas. Little did we know we would spend the ENTIRE TRIP BOTH WAYS listening to that cd. And ever since, whenever I see Christmas lights, or drive through Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas, or do anything involving a car, I think of her. And I think of wanting to shove the cd down her throat.**

*True Facts: A few days after my Mom died, Dad and I decided to go to Corpus for the weekend to visit some old friends and give them the news in person. We got to Austin at about 8pm. We didn’t leave Austin until about 1am. Going straight. On one road the entire time. Because traffic was so congested that we couldn’t get to the exits. The only thing keeping us awake was a Kelly Clarkson cd on repeat. Over and over and over and over. It was hell on wheels. We finally got to a hotel at 2am and paid $80 for the privilege of sleeping there for 4 hours. Best. $80. Spent. Ever.

**Which is hilarious now because the love of Celine has rubbed off on me. The horror, the horror!

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~ by Meagan Rhoads on December 13, 2011.

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