It started off as a seemingly simple idea, a thing to do; Mary and her friend Laura bought tickets for a Candlelight Glow evening at the Daniel Boone Homestead in the rural area some miles out from tiny Defiance, Missouri, bringing their respective husbands along of course. This was not at all the seemingly ubiquitous modern affair where more and brighter is better, with their, “match that, Our Lady of the Shrine”, competition, all of which raises the bar for the stimulation of young brains and also has some operator at the nearby Calloway Nuclear Power plant jumping out of his chair, while spilling his coffee into the control board and yelling, “pull the rest of the Control Rods out, we need everything she’s got!!”

It was dark, it was cold, power wheelchairs were not foremost on the minds of Danial Boone’s family when they were laying out their expansive homestead, but our struggle is what my step kids would label, “first world probs”, when compared to the local Native Americans back then.

Away from any city, the stars were magnificent in the cold winter air. It became apparent, not a single electric light was out there. Endless real candles made paths through the dark, who knew so much fun, could come from a lark? With hot cider on board, brave Mary pushed the joystick to a run, with me bouncing along gleefully, “my adventures are not yet done… praise be to the Lord!”

Wood fires burned in the hearths of most every old home and Chapel. People in period dress played the roles of Boone and his kin, all softly lit, by only chimney and candle. I missed much of what they said, for hundreds of years past, was where my head. Daydreaming nicely of the more pleasant times of lore, another visitor just had to chime in. “Do you get paid for this?-a lot or a little?-who do you work for?-who signs your check?” I’m jolted from my rustic imagination, ‘What the holy heck? You should go to a light show, won’t even have to get out of your car, if you leave right now, it can’t be very far.’ He behaved from that point on, only to be fair, while I went back to living rough in the days of Danial Boone, with my breathing machine, and electric wheelchair.

The night was so crisp, Laura, Will, Mary and I, simultaneously agreed, a tour sometimes smothers, so we went down to the far back field, a fire, inky black sky, and no others. A worker appeared out of the dark, offering a refresher to our hot cider, then disappeared back up the hill like a bar tending ghost rider. Looking up over our fire, the sea of little candles lighting various cabins and walkways was dark and cool as heck, good job St. Charles County Government, and thank you for signing that ladies check!

Frei Christmas Traditions