’Tis the season for coming home

Ben Ram, a homesick 16-year-old college student, penned the lyrics “I’ll be Home for Christmas” that Bing Crosby made famous in 1943.
The lyrics recorded by Crosby were different, written by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent. That year, the song rose to #11 on the charts.
Back then, in the midst of the Second World War, the song pulled at the heartstrings of parents whose sons were in the service overseas. But even today, the song continues to be a Christmas favourite of U.S. troops stationed around the world.
As I meet parents throughout the district, the question most often asked is “Will your kids be home for Christmas?” Followed by “When do they arrive?”
I’m not sure who is homesick and who misses their children more.
Christmas is that special time of the year when families gather to enjoy traditions they have come to know. New couples will find themselves torn trying to work out the arrangements to be with both sets of families.
Students began arriving home for the holidays last week, departing dorms and apartments the moment the last exams were written. Some even could write their last exams from home via the Internet.
Our youngest arrived home Saturday. Like most parents, we began watching the weather a day prior to his travelling and discovered there was a blizzard in Calgary. Adam spent eight hours on Friday afternoon and evening trying to get a taxi for an early-morning trip to the airport.
His mother fretted the entire evening that he wouldn’t make it out.
Meanwhile, our oldest son will arrive on Christmas Eve. We will begin watching the weather on Sunday.
I know that we are not alone. Countless parents are expecting their children and families home from colleges, universities, and jobs around the world.
Other parents are looking forward to their grandchildren arriving for Christmas.
One grandmother excitedly told me her two new grandchildren, one four months and the other five months, were arriving. That was her most exciting Christmas present.
Some children will be bringing home a significant other to meet their parents—and both are nervous about the impending holiday.
Some parents will meet their children at the airport here or over in the Falls.
For the next week, the highways to Winnipeg and Thunder Bay will be busy as parents travel to and from the airports of those large centres.
They will be watching the forecasts hoping the snow is held at bay and that the temperatures are not too severe. They’ll also be watching the weather in the cities that their children are flying from.
Some students will arrive home by bus and will be met at the local depot by parents waiting in warmed cars.
Others will ride share home from Winnipeg and Thunder Bay with friends who have vehicles.
Here at the Times, we will be short-handed through the Christmas season as two of our young reporters are travelling home for Christmas. They began making their travel plans at Thanksgiving.
Artists have rerecorded the tune, “I’ll be Home for Christmas” year after year, but the message of the lyrics is as real today as it was in 1943. The need to be home for Christmas is strong.

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