Even before Thanksgiving just past Halloween, I’m
thinking about how I love Christmas on the road.
For forty-two years I was locked into where I was and
responsible because I was the pastor, somewhere, any-
where, for the traditions. Last year, my wife Chris, our
Chocolate Lab Boomer and I spent Christmas Day on
the eighth day of our trip west in Bisbee, Arizona. We
checked into the motel with a great view of the
mountainous southlands, and unlike Mary, Joseph and the
baby Jesus, we got in. With the dog still in the backseat,
we headed downtown and found the only place open, a bar.
Thank heavens it was on the first of at least three tiers of
downtown, which was actually the downtown part of uptown.
Parking across the street from the bar, we wished our
dog Boomer, Merry Christmas, walked into the establish-
ment, cozied up to the bar, ordered drinks, bent an elbow and
hoisted glasses in praise of the birth of our Lord, sampled a
few of the well-beyond-prime-time-home-made-appetizers
(“Hey, Doll, I made those especially for tonight,” the gal at
the end of the bar shouted), at least the sauerkraut remained
hygienically sour, sang a ditty or two to Jesus with the
community of faith gathered for communion, mumbled the
Lord’s Prayer to ourselves, shouted “Hey, Ya’ll, Merry Christmas!”
and headed back to the motel for the Silent Night.
When we stopped, Boomer jumped out of the backseat and
wagged his tail. My wife slipped into the motel and I took
one more glance at the southwest mountain range just
north of the Mexican border as the sun exited stage left.
I just stood there in the cold, crisp desert air and hummed
“All is Well, All is Bright” as fast rising moonlight reflected
that gorgeous sight and the dog announced with a bark
that he wanted to go in, so we, too, slipped in for the night.