Why is a Grenadier of the Queen's Guard hanging on our Christmas tree?
In 1992, upon graduating from high school, I had planned to travel to Europe with a group going from my high school and led by our French teacher, Kay Boman. But it seems that none of my classmates wanted to go, so the trip never made.
In 1995 KayBo mustered a group and asked me, now a junior in college, if I wanted to go along. I said yes. Then, Mom said she wanted to go to. So, I spent two weeks traveling around Europe with my mother, right on the cusp of true adulthood. We had a blast. We climbed up the steps of Sacre Couer, picniced beside the lake in Lucerne, relaxed as we cruised down the Rhine. And so much more. One aspect of the trip was Mom decided to buy all the family's Christmas gifts, so we were always on the lookout for the perfect gift for each person.
The first stop of the trip was London. As we left the Tower, we encountered a stall selling all sorts of touristy items, including an array of ornaments of different classic English characters. We decided it would be fun to buy an ornament by which to remember this trip. I selected the grenadier in his classic bearskin hat.
And, now, every year when I unwrap it and place it on the tree, I remember the grand adventure Mom and I enjoyed together twenty years ago.