By Caddy Rowland

When I was a child, my father seemed like God. Christmas was always a special time of year in our home, and my father was at the center of it. He made sure we lit the advent tree every Sunday night, sang carols, moved the camels closer to the manger…plus he really enjoyed all of the decorating. At the church service before Christmas, all the kids got a paperbag full of candy and an apple as they filed out. I never knew until after he had died that he was the one who started that tradition and kept it going all of those years.

Once I became a teenager, my father and I no longer got along. I had vastly different points of view from him, and he was not the type of person who appreciated his child forming opinions different from how she had been raised.
One Christmas, I had been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder stories and I really wanted a muff. Laura had wanted a muff and so I wanted one, too. My mom told me that they were old fashioned, but I didn’t care. If a muff was good enough for Laura, it was good enough for me! It did not sound like I would get one, though.

Christmas Eve came and we sat down to open gifts. Since my brother was thirteen years older, it was like being the only child. I must have gotten 50 gifts each year! That year, my brother was not with us. He was in the Navy, far away in Japan. It was not wartime though. It was the early 60’s. I sure did miss him, even though I knew he was safe. There under the tree was a gift from my brother to me. Imagine my delight when I unwrapped it and found a pure white fur muff-complete with a doll’s head on it! I was thrilled! How did he know all the way in Japan what I had wanted???

After unwrapping gifts, my father wanted to go to late service. It was a warm night, so he decided to walk. He asked me if I would like to go along. I did not hesitate! It would be time alone with my dad-and an opportunity to use my new muff!

It was one of those rare nights where there was no wind, about 28 to 30 degrees, and snow was falling softly. I could see the individual snowflakes as they landed on my coat. They stuck to our eyelashes, and I stuck out my tongue to taste them as they fell. There were no cars on the road; we were the only ones out walking. The world was silent as we walked next to each other, both appreciating the show of beauty Mother Nature was blessing us with that night. We talked and laughed, commenting on how perfect the night was.

 All of a sudden, I stopped and turned around. Behind us, the only thing you could see besides snow were the footprints of a father and a daughter, walking together in harmony and love. I don’t think I have ever felt such a sense of peace or security as on that night. Only a few years later those footsteps would separate, go in opposite directions. Too many differences, too many harshwords spoken.

He is gone now. He has been gone since I was 27. Still, decades later, that vision of our footsteps in the snow stays with me. I know that, despite all the differences, he always walks beside me. A little girl and her father. Two sets of footprints, in the snow.

Caddy Rowland is author of Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream and the soon to be released (mid-December) Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny. Her blog is and her email is You can follow Caddy on twitter at #caddyorpims.

Her books are available for kindle at, NOOK at, and paperback at Gastien's fanpage is


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