Written by Mathilde W.
Our family had the opportunity to spend Christmases in the beautiful Alps of Austria and Switzerland while living in Germany. This truly was a magical time with wonderful memories, crisp cold air, soft falling snow, and the icicles hanging off the picturesque alpine homes.
Imagine coming in from the cold, and sitting down in the chalet in front of a roaring fire after a full day of skiing. The Christmas tree was decorated just perfectly. An old-fashioned one decorated with handmade ornaments, lit with real candles radiating a wonderful glow in the room. Music playing and Silent Night being sung in numerous languages by the international visitors being present. Just magical!
But there was one trip that was most memorable, one that would create a lifelong bond and change a life. In 1968 we went to Zell am See, a quaint Austrian town on Lake Zell, south of the city of Salzburg. Our girls were young and enrolled in ski lessons. The ski instructor’s name was Wilfried, who loved to ski and enjoyed life as a fine young bachelor. My husband Chuck, always enjoyed getting to know people and invited him to have dinner with us. By the end of our week, having spent time with Wilfried, Chuck offered him a job to join his team. In the 1970s, both our families moved to the states and continued to visit each other and kept in touch by phone.
In December 2018, when Chuck passed away, Wilfried wrote this touching tribute:
“Chuck was the most important person in my life I ever met. In fact, he changed my life in a dramatic way. He had a heart of gold and he was like a father to me always caring and guiding the beginning of my professional life and my life in the US.
To this day I believe it was a miracle that they walked in the restaurant in Zell at the end of the winter. I was just leaving and had no job but dreams. And here is Chuck offering me a job I would have never got, was not qualified at the time but he believed in me and guided me. Our week skiing together, all the fun we had, especially you girls, and that day in Zell changed my life forever.
Chuck is the single reason I found my way back to believing in God again.”
That Christmas was memorable and a life-changing experience for Wilfried, both professionally and spiritually, and for our family as well, we gained a lifelong friend.
Believe in miracles, be kind and make a difference. It could change someone’s life.