Have no doubt, I will miss my Dad greatly. But I am not one to curl up in a ball until the hurt goes away. One thing my Dad’s life taught me is that, whatever storm you face, you have to keep going. He wouldn’t want me to stop living. He wouldn’t want me to stop laughing. He certainly wouldn’t want me to stop loving.
That said, will you join me? Would you climb aboard the Jeep Express? I promise you won’t regret it. It is a new tradition born out of an idea from Shell in your Pocket’s mini van express ride. I read her entry several months before Christmas and fell in love with it. I’m giving her all the credit because I couldn’t possibly think of something so creative.
I must saying starting a tradition requires a lot more effort than following one. First, you have to set the scene, have the props, then follow through with it all. Not easy to do with a three and five year old, who doesn’t quite get it, although I think next year they will catch on much quicker. This year, it took them a bit to warm up.
I set the scene by telling Molly the story of the Jeep Express. I said, “Sometimes during Christmas when the kids get their jammies on, and head to bed, they discover under their pillow a ticket to ride the Jeep Express. The Jeep Express has popcorn, candy, and drinks. It goes to see the Christmas lights.”
Molly decided she didn’t want to do that. She thought the Jeep Express would take her someplace scary. I had to convince her that Daddy drives the Jeep Express and he wouldn’t take her someplace scary, right? Then, she said didn’t want to go look at Christmas lights this year. WHAT???
Don’t worry I didn’t panic, I just went to look under Daddy’s pillow for a magical ticket. Lo and behold there WAS a ticket! It read Praire Lights one admission tonight only on the Jeep Express! (not that they can read….)
Now that pretty much did it, we began the great hunt for Jeep Express tickets. We found tickets under both of their pillows. We began jumping around the room, holding our tickets above our heads, dancing, and waving them around. YEAH! Tonight we ride the JEEP EXPRESS!! TOOT! TOOT! (good thing Dad drives a Jeep, wink)
The conductor (Daddy) took the tickets at the door. Inside the express they went, with their goody bags of candy, Christmas necklaces that blink, and warm fuzzy blankets.
The Jeep Express had to make one stop on the way. It was to pick up Sydney and Kyle, question was, did they have a ticket to ride?
Why yes! Yes, they did! Upside down and all. Off we go on the Jeep Express, which is not to someplace scary, but a place of festive wonder. A display of FOUR million lights, along two miles next to the lake. A place to transform Daddy’s Jeep into a junk food smorgasbord. You can eat, drink, and be merry. It was incredible. We had popcorn, candy, and soda. There were many exclamations, “Look at that!” “Wow!” It seemed like the more you looked, the more you saw something else in all the glow.
I think this new tradition will stick. As much as I miss my Dad, I can’t miss these opportunities to begin anew. Dad never remarried, maybe he was scared to, or maybe he never had the chance. I know had it happened, he would have been greatly rewarded. So Dad, this ones for you. Enjoy the ride.
The finale, which was who knows how many LED lights in a tunnel. Unbelievably, spectacular!
May your traditions burn as bright as you are this Christmas, and always. Thanks for riding the Jeep Express.