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The best presents aren’t under the tree

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

It’s been awhile since I was able to spend Christmas with both parents and my siblings.

Since coming to Henry County we’ve been deterred by weather and ill-timed car problems.

You see, it’s about a four-hour drive to get to my dad’s home in Western Kentucky — there’s no direct route, and the path is easily made treacherous by the slightest amount of snow.

Mom’s place is only about 2.5 hours away, a much easier trek, mostly by interstate.

So it was on Christmas Eve that despite the predictions of snow, we loaded up in the car — the better to drive through snow — and made for the hills of Western Kentucky.

We arrived ahead of the snow, and enjoyed a fantastic night of good food (prepared by each of us, but under the watchful direction of my stepmother, Mary), good conversation, good laughs and superb cookies.

While my sister and brother braved the accumulating snow outside to return home, Derek and I were able to stay the night, enjoy a homemade Christmas breakfast and then venture toward mom’s in daylight — and on plowed and salted roads.

After a bit of a drive to find a place, any place, open for lunch on Christmas Day, we enjoyed a lovely visit with mom.

Being able to visit with my family, all within the same 24-hour period, was the best Christmas gift we could have received.

Being able to visit with Derek’s parents — more than 800 miles apart themselves — would have made the day even more complete.

Even while we lived in Western Kentucky, rare was the time when we were able to visit with both of my parents on, basically, the same day.

I forgot how much it meant to me to be able to share Christmas Day with family.

The teasing among siblings, the trading of cookie secrets, the hours-long conversations, the sifting through old pictures.

All were better than any gift we had under the tree.