By SHANE RICHARD BELL
Staff writer/Coeur d’Alene Press
Some of my richest memories in life are from my childhood holidays.
My home, situated on the edge of a forest, which we called the North Forty, was like a bright globe plopped in the snow. In its windows were love and joy, safety and comfort.
Its light and warmth reached past suburbia and on to the farmers’ fields and country roads beyond.
In my mind I was in the middle of a land of dreams where I could run and run without stopping, trudge up mountains built by snowplows, and climb the trees I marveled at while I lay in the snow dreaming of my next adventure.
I was in heaven.
Eventually I would get cold and come home, my clothes strewn in soppy piles near the large oak door that shut with the certainty of always being there.
One time, after one of these winter adventures, I recall an especially vivid memory. We all sat down at our table, together. Holding hands, my dad prayed, offering thanks. Amen. My mom placed generous bowls of homemade chili and cornbread before us.
Then it was time to get ready. I knew what I was going to wear- I’ve always liked dressing up. I stepped into my suit pants, and pulled on my blue-sued sports coat. I laced my shiny, black shoes.
I was ready.
My dad grabbed the camera. Snap, a picture.
Then I ran to my room to look out the window, my fingers prying at the windowsill in oily fingerprints, until I saw the limousine roll into our driveway to pick us up for a private tour of the best Christmas lights in Coeur d’Alene and Spokane.
These are my memories of the holidays. They’re the memories of the people I love the most, of our most sacred time together as a family. They’re a big part of why I believe in the holidays.
And “Believe,” as a publication, has set forth to tell stories like it. These are stories of cherished traditions, unexpected blessings, and authentic miracles.
Inside you will find the story of an attorney touched by someone’s profound kindness, the meaning of Hanukkah by a regional rabbi, holiday blessings by a female pastor, a woman’s miracle baby on Christmas Eve during the ice storm of 1996, and a family from Zambia spending their first Christmas together in North Idaho.
Read thoroughly and enjoy every word of these incredible stories, as you discover what the holidays truly mean to you.