Winter Blogfest: Craig Hastings

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of MOOSE RIDGE:ENDING TO BEGINNING .

Christmas in Bavaria

When you’re stationed overseas, it can be expensive for a young family to make it home for Christmas, but you still want to make it special for your young children. One Christmas, while stationed in Germany, we had the opportunity to spend the Christmas holiday in Bavaria. There were many wonderful activities for all. One the boys especially enjoyed was going sledding on Christmas Day. They provided the sleds and snow suits and there was a bus to take us to the area. I expected it to be a nice-sized hill. Imagine my surprise when we ended up on the Austrian border at a sled run that was over two miles long if you went to the top. The boys had a blast, but mom and dad stayed at the bottom most of the time.

But it was Christmas Eve which sticks in my heart the most. We attended an outdoor celebration in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. The village where “Silent Night” was written and first performed on Christmas Eve, 1818. The church where this happened is no longer there, but the village has built a chapel on the spot where it was. Each year they celebrate on Christmas Eve and visitors come from all over to join in. The entire village is involved and the folks dress in period-style clothes and havebooths for drinks and treats. It’s the perfect Christmas Village.

We had fun touring the village and sampling the treats available until it was time to gather at the chapel. The chapel sits on a slope in the village and isn’t big, so everyone finds places around it outside. There was a local choir and a few words spoken about the song and its heritage. Space here doesn’t allow me to explain it all, but the website does a good job.

With all the preliminaries done, it was time to share the song. Aguitarist accompanied the choir as this was the instrument the song was originally written for. The crowd stood quietly as the silence around us was overcome by the choir’s masterful singing of “Silent Night”. At the end of the first verse, the crowd was invited to join and as the voices were raised in multiple languages, large snowflakes began to fall and slowly blanketedthe area. It was a scene even Hollywood couldn’t replicate. You just had to be there.

As we made our way back to the bus for the ride back to ourhotel, I knew this was a Christmas memory I would never forget.

All beginnings lead to endings, but some endings bring beginnings.

Attending Harvard was the first positive thing in Jazmine’s life in a long time. While a member of an affluent New York family, her mother died when she was five and her father went to jail when she was twelve. Jazmine lost everything, leaving her a ward of the state and becoming a foster child.

Meeting Michael, a medical student was the second positive experience. Now she’s looking forward to the perfect life she dreamed about. Leaving Boston and New York behind, the only cities she’s ever known, she’s on her way to join Michael and start their new life together in Wyoming where he will complete his neurosurgical residency. She’s had a lot of hard blows, but now all her hard work and dedication are going to pay off. The day has arrived for her and Michael to start the beginning of their future life together. Jazmine just knows, for once, everything is going to be exactly how she always dreamed it could be.

Then she’s handed the letter.

Born and raised in Muncie, IN, Craig is about as typical middle-America as they come. His 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, followed by another 15 as a DoD contractor, allowed him to live in several places in the States and overseas. After over 20 years in German and the UK, Craig hates moving, he and his wife settled in Oklahoma City where their 3 miniature Dachshunds allow Craig and his wife to live with them. He continues working for a major computer company under contract with a major airline manufacturer, which keeps him busy during the weekdays. Leaving his evenings and weekends for his writing and maintaining their home and yard. Oh, and his major job of taking care of the pups.

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  1. Debra Guyette says

    That does sound amazing. I grew up in the military and Christmas was always filled with guests who were alone for the holidays.

  2. sounds nice

  3. Wow, that sounds like an awesome memory that should somehow show up in a book. How wonderful it sounds! Thank you for sharing!

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