12-24-2020 Letters and Commentary

CHRISTMAS MIRACLE… I hope this Christmas Holiday finds you among your loved ones and that the peace of the season is with you always.

Last week vaccines for the corona Virus-19 were approved by the CDC and within a couple days national distribution began.

Just when the future gloom seemed impenetrable, the darkness was swapped for brightness and joy.

Inoculations of medical staff treating the COVID-19 victims began immediately, as were the residents of nursing facilities.

With recent predictions of mid-2021 dates for completion of distribution of the vaccines, the news is certainly a miracle.


This is the 45th year I have published my Christmas column as being a part of the Bayer Christmas tradition.

Every year I seriously consider not printing it. When I express doubt as to running it again, I get responses from folks asking that I keep the tradition going. From family members and friends alike, all expressed that their own holiday memories were stimulated by my story.

This is close to the original written in 1976, as my first Christmas column as assistant editor of the Capac Journal. As it happens, it is also the only Christmas column I have ever written. With a few annual changes, this column just works for me. Now having grandkids Willy, Karli, Ben, Elaina, Zoya, Polly, Evie, Eli, and Kendall to share those memories and to create new ones is something truly wonderful.

Over the past four years, a new generation has been started in our Karl & Anne Bayer clan. Jaxon, nearly 3 years old, and his 4-year-old brother William Harold Loshbough V are the newest babies celebrating with us at Christmas, sons of Willy and his wife Brook. The family was also gladdened by the marriage of our granddaughter Karlianne to Tyler Burbach.

The addition of third generation of grandnieces and grandnephews has swelled the family ranks. There are hopes the canceled Bayer Family Reunion could be held this coming summer.

After all, what is Christmas without being surrounded by children, family, and friends?

My own warm, bittersweet memories of Mom and Dad; my father-in-law, Nubbs; dearest mother-in-law Elaine; and the kids and family get-togethers on Christmas morning blend with those that were in my heart when I wrote that column 44 years ago as a young father looking forward to Christmas with my kids and thinking of my Christmases past as a youngster.

From that burgeoning Chris and Margaret Bayer family of 13 children, now there are more than 290 happy souls; husbands and wives, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandkids and great-grandkids. Our happiness in welcoming new babies and spouses to the family is mingled with the sorrow of missing those who are gone. The painful remembering of their passing, hopefully, will be lessened by the recollection of the joy, love, and good times they always shared with us. R.I.P. Mom and Dad, Nubbs and Elaine, Marian, Doug, Joan, Joe, Greg, John, Steve, Rosie, Bob, Silky (Dennis), Steve T., LeRoy, Doug, and Sonny.

I hope you get some enjoyment from this column and that it evokes your own warm memories of those with whom you have shared this family and holy day… Christmas.


This is the most exciting time of the year for the little Bayer “cubs.” “How many days to Christmas?” they ask. “Is it Christmas yet? Is Christmas Jesus’ birthday? Is it today after church?”

My own favorite childhood memories of that time are the deliciously long-drawn-out hours and minutes leading up to Christmas. Then there’s that greatest time of all, Christmas morning.

As one of 13 children occupying a five-bedroom house, my childhood memories are jumbled together with the sights and sounds of living with a large family. Those memories have become a composite of many experiences; if not happening directly to me, they’ve become a part of me in the retelling of the stories.