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Family Talk: A merry, memorable Christmas

Sometimes the worst holiday travel experiences prove the most memorable. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO]

Sometimes the worst holiday travel experiences prove the most memorable. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO]

One snowy Christmas Eve, our family decided, at the last minute, to drive to Texas to see my wife's parents. Weather advisories warned us to stay home, but we said, “We'll drive slowly. Who cares how long it takes us to get there?”

But after traveling an hour, the fierce storm forced us to turn back. Unfortunately, we only got as far as a hilly intersection 20 miles from our house. The iced roads made it impossible to get up the hill, and the road behind us had been closed. We were stuck! We didn't think we could stay in our car all night, so we settled for our only option: A nearby, lonely motel that looked as sketchy as the bad roads.

I found out later this motel was a hangout for prostitutes and drug dealers. The outside was shabby and poorly maintained. The proprietor was clueless about how many beds were in each of his rooms. Finally, he gave us a key, suggesting we try out a room on the first floor, and directed us across a parking lot piled high with snow.

Did I mention my wife had surgery on both her feet that week? So, I had to carry her on my back, through the knee-deep snow. The room was as shabby as the exterior of the motel, and the bathroom wall had a gaping hole in it. My wife was convinced rats would invade us once we went to sleep. But at least we were inside a warm place.

That night, we read the Christmas story by a dim lightbulb and gave thanks for another shabby dwelling that had given shelter to the Christ child so long ago. It was a memorable, merry Christmas.

Jim Priest is CEO of Sunbeam Family Services and can be reached at jpriest@sunbeamfamilyservices.org.

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<p><span class="bold">Jim Priest</span></p>

Jim Priest

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-cbff67b72747913dbe9dd84836285693.jpg" alt="Photo - Jim Priest " title=" Jim Priest "><figcaption> Jim Priest </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7e499457e9752cacd9114ba9a476fb35.jpg" alt="Photo - Sometimes the worst holiday travel experiences prove the most memorable. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO] " title=" Sometimes the worst holiday travel experiences prove the most memorable. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO] "><figcaption> Sometimes the worst holiday travel experiences prove the most memorable. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO] </figcaption></figure>
Jim Priest

Jim Priest is the CEO of Sunbeam Family Services, a 108-year-old nonprofit that provides a range of social services to support Oklahoma's most vulnerable people, including early childhood education, counseling, foster care and senior services. Jim... Read more ›

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