Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Fires

There have been many home fires lately. It makes me sad, that especially with the economy the way it is, the families are burdened through the holidays.
It makes me remember a story that my grandmother would tell me during the holiday's. My Abuelita, Regina O Gonzalez Ayala, was raised in the Mormon Colonies in Chihuahua, Mexico, in Dublan. She lived in a two story home. She would tell me how at Christmas, when she was little, it was not about the presents. That at Christmas Eve the family would have a nice dinner. The story of Jesus's birth was read from the scriptures. The lighting of the Christmas tree was a great celebration. You see, in those days, the lighting of the Christmas tree would actually be real candles that were lit and clipped on the branches.
One year when she was little, the Christmas tree caught on fire. She was upstairs with her sister. The fire was growing strong, hot, thick smoke and she couldn't see well. She told me how all the family made it out safe.
She was especially thankful of the members of our church. How the members pulled together as one family and quickly helped them. She was so blessed and thankful. So until recently, she hated candles burning in her home.
This past Thanksgiving, our family spent Thanksgiving in El Paso, Texas. My grandma was telling stories of when she grew up in the colonies again. How my great grandfather brother Andres Gonzalez, grandson is Elder Clate W. Mask Jr. from the Quorum of the Seventy. The families who grew up with her: the Browns, Kimball's, Erying's, Mortenson's, Pratt's, etc.
Well, I mentioned earlier that I bought the book Pioneer Christmas Excerpts from Personal Journals, Edited by Susan Arrington Madsen. Today I read the following journal:
As a child I lived in the little Mormon colony of Cobnia Juarez (which I wonder if its a typo and should be Colonia Juarez) in Northern Mexico. Early one Christmas morning I was carrying a small bucket of milk to my grandmother's house, which was a few streets away, when I saw that a house through the block was on fire. It was the home of one of my friends. Terrified, I dashed home to tell my parents. They and all the neighbors rushed to help, but their best efforts could not save the house.

In those days people fastened real candles on the Christmas tree and lit them. in my friends home one of the candles had tipped, setting first the tree and then the house ablaze. Everything was destroyed.

The community rallied around the family, supplying all their immediate needs. And I was even a bit jealous when the children of the family received more gifts for Christmas that year that had been under their tree.

I know the family would have been helped, whatever the time of year, but the outpouring of generosity seemed especially appropriate for Christmas Day, when traditionally we enjoy a special readiness to share.
Camilla Eyring Kimball
from Family Christmas Traditions

It makes me wonder, since my Abuelita mentioned the above names, and Camilla also share the names my grandmother mentioned, could this be my grandmothers home Camilla speaks of? I will call her tomorrow and find out...if she remembers her friends names.

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