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Life With Livingston Dental
e G e n
Snow in Southern California
When someone asks me about the best gift I’ve received, I think back to when I was a young man spending my first Christmas away from home. I was on my mission, based in Southern California, and for a boy from chilly Canada, this was about as foreign a winter as I could have. There was no snow, no freezing temperatures, and none of the seasonal activities I was used to. On Christmas morning, I prepared for a quiet day. My family had sent me some thoughtful and useful gifts, including a tie and an apron. At about 10 a.m., the phone rang. It was another member of the church, Brother Dufrane. “Elder Livingston,” he said. “What are you and your companion doing?” “If you’re not going anywhere, I’ll be over in five minutes,” Brother Dufrane said. “I have a surprise for you. You’re going to love it.” About five minutes later, we heard a car horn honking. Brother Dufrane drove a small, powder-blue Datsun pickup — about five missionaries were all it took to tilt it over. We went outside and saw the pickup with something large in the back. “Hang on,” Brother Dufran said. He jumped out and got into the back of the pickup. We noticed there were a couple of coolers back there. “Okay, I have a surprise. But first, you have to close your eyes,” he told us. “Does this “Right now, we’re sitting and having breakfast,” I told him.
before with Brother Dufrane after church. “Tell me about your winters in Canada,” he said. I shared my best memories of winters growing up: Christmases spent on toboggans, warming up with hot cocoa after a chilly, laughter-filled day on snowmobiles, and making snowmen and forts in the yard. It was clear that Brother Dufrane had thoughtfully acted on that information. As missionaries, we got to call home and visit with our families two days out of the year — on Mother’s Day and Christmas. We were away from home, and yet with the gift of snow that day, home felt a little closer. It was one of the best gifts I ever received. I don’t remember much else about that Christmas, but I know no other aspect could top the snowball fight we had on a warm California day.
sound weird or what?” I thought. But we obliged and closed our eyes.
To our extreme surprise, we suddenly felt something cold hit our jackets, then our hands. We opened our eyes and saw that the coolers were full of snow! He was throwing snowballs at us! Brother Dufrane had picked the snow up from a ski resort the day before. We ran over to the pickup, and Brother Dufrane took the coolers out and set them on the ground. A rare Southern Californian snowball fight ensued. We grabbed handfuls of the snow and hid behind trees and bushes, flinging it across the lawn. Our hands soon became ice cold, but we didn’t care. It was the best thing I could have asked for. As I stood out there, amidst flying snowballs on a Southern California Christmas, I recalled a conversation I’d had a week
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