The Two Dollar Christmas Gift


I was commenting on a dear friend’s post tonight and suddenly a few happy tears fell. Remembering Christmas‘s long ago when children squealed with delight. Hands clapping wildly and smiles from ear to ear.

We learned about baby Jesus in Sunday School but if I am honest, it was more exciting to wake up on Christmas morning. Mom and Dad were the best Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause all around. We didn’t get hoards of gifts but what we got is exactly what we told Santa we wanted.

Each Christmas was like that until the year I got married. When Christmas morning came there was no one to celebrate it with first thing in the morning. Although I had my husband, it was different.

I still could not wait to go to Mom and Dad’s on Christmas Eve. Every year it remained the same at my parents. Christmas Eve was an unspoken saved time where we knew we were going there for dinner, treats, and gifts.

Spending the time with my entire family back in those days was a true joy. What a gift it would be today if I could have a peek and relive just one of those wonderful years. Both of my parents are deceased. My half-sister has pretty much disowned me. So it is definitely not the same now, but I do celebrate with my children and grandchildren.

New traditions to try out and add to many years to come. New memories are added but deep, deep within my heart is that little void and those silent tears for what once was.

My Dad had a little thing he would do for us three kids every year. He would wait until all the gifts were opened and then he would rise from his chair look at me and smile and slowly walk a way going to  his bedroom.

When he returned he would have three brown paper lunch bag sacks. In each sack was a giant Hershey chocolate candy bar and a two liter bottle of coke. He would grin from ear to ear as he handed it to me.

My dad got a big kick out of Christmas. Of the entire year, this was the only time he truly enjoyed shopping. He didn’t care or he didn’t voice it what he got in return. I remember I used to buy him long john underwear a lot. Dad worked for the County Highway. He drove a truck and during the winter plowing, sometimes he would get stuck outside more than inside the truck.

But for me, I will be thinking this year about Christmas. It will only be Al and me sitting here, but my thoughts will be looking up to heaven and seeing Dad smiling down at me holding that brown paper lunch bag sack. He will be handing me my chocolate bar and coke. But this time I will not just say thank-you Daddy. I will jump up and wrap my arms around him so tight and squeeze him crying out how much I miss him and how much I still love him.

My Daddy, my hero of my world died six years ago Dec.1. I love you Daddy. I can’t wait to see you again. We will share that candy bar and that big coke. Hugs, your daughter, Terry.

This is my Daddy when I was caring for him while he was dying from Leukemia and Myaloma. I am the blonde next to him with my head tilted.

dad, bev, me and theda

The Gift That Almost Wasn’t


Every time little Billy went to town with his  Mommy he stopped in front of the toy store and watched the little train going round and round on the track. A big black engine with plenty of shiny silver on it. Four cars followed it in colors of red, green, blue and gold.

Mommy always tugged at his arm to follow him but he fought it, wanting to stay one more minute to watch. He heard the familiar words of how she wished she could tell Santa to bring it to him on Christmas morning but Santa had too many other children to visit and she wasn’t sure he would be stopping at their house this year.

Mommy had lost Daddy. He had worked in the mines. One day there was a terrible accident and Mommy told Billy that God needed Daddy so he wouldn’t be coming back home.

Life had been different since Daddy was gone. The three of them used to hold hands and pray before they ate their meals but ever since the one chair sat empty, Billy ate in front of the television and Mommy stayed in her private room.

If Billy stopped chewing he could hear his Mommy crying. She sure must miss him. Mommy sometimes went to other ladies houses and came home all dirty and tired. She would walk in the door and barely smile at Billy before she went to her room.

Soon he would hear the tub filling up with water. Mommy would come out later and give him a hug and then go to the kitchen and find him something to eat for supper. They used to have grand meals.

Just sitting here thinking about it made his mouth water. Nice big pieces of meat with lots of fluffy white mashed potatoes. Now a lot of the times she brought him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When things were good he got milk to drink. Most of the time though it was water.

One time a knock came at the door. It was the neighbor. A kind looking lady who asked Mommy if she could take him to church with her this coming Sunday. Mommy said yes and from that day on Billy went to church.

Billy began to open up to his new Sunday family. He made new friends in his Sunday School class. The day before Christmas his Sunday School teacher gave him a white sack. When he opened it there was an orange and lots of chocolate pieces of candy.

That night as we was watching TV Mommy walked out and sat beside him on the couch. She put her arms around him and she started crying. He stopped eating and listened to her as she explained why she wished with all her heart that she could have gifts under the tree for him, but she just couldn’t do it.

He rubbed his Mommy’s hand and told her it was alright, that he didn’t mind. She stood up and went back to her room. He finished eating and watched TV until time to go to bed. After he went to bed she came out to the kitchen and made herself some coffee.

There was a knock at the door. When she opened it her neighbor and their friends from church were standing there with wrapped gifts. Mommy started to cry as she let them in and they quietly placed the gifts under the tree.

As the last person placed his gift Mommy went to him and gave him the biggest hug she could muster. They each hugged and said good-bye. Mommy got her coffee and went to bed smiling.

The next morning Billy got up and went out to the living room to turn the TV on. His eyes became big as saucers as he noticed the shiny packages under the tree. But the biggest surprise ever was the little train going round and round with the big black engine with the four cars following it.

train

Daily Prompt; Fantasy / The Daily Post


OsterhaseNikolaus

OsterhaseNikolaus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://dailypost.wordpress.com

DP, Daily Prompt, Daily Post

The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .) : a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. Nice choices but for me it will be Santa. The reason I chose this is because the Tooth Fairy happens while I am asleep. Aside from me waking up in the morning to discover fifty cents,(back in my day) life moved along as normal.

Easter Bunny just doesn’t cut it for me any longer. Not only because I haven’t received an Easter basket for God knows how many years, it is too contradicting against what Easter represents. I don’t ever remember hearing or seeing pictures of Jesus carrying a basket of candy.

Santa the only choice left involves more than the over-stated and commercialized symbol of the Lord’s birth. It also involves the whole ball of wax. The kiddies are excited. I can imagine that for some kids this is the one time of the year where attention is sprinkled on them.

Smiles erupt like active volcanoes. Good spirits and anticipation for living are heightened taller than the Sears Tower. For the homeless it is a chance to have maybe more than that one meal each day. It probably makes their mouth water just thinking about turkey or ham and mashed potatoes along with dinner rolls. Dessert must be added to this fine meal.

This can give some much more hope for this  short season. Twinkles are brought to their eyes. Stopping to take time to spruce up themselves is done without nudging. Food banks, bell ringers, Adopt-A-Trees and Angel Missions are brought to life to the point of seams busting. Monies and wrapped gifts find their way to children who may have not had a Christmas other wise. Food in abundance rests upon plastic holiday scenery table cloths.

Milk over water will fill little tummies. Families come together during this time of year. Maybe they have not seen each other since the last holiday. Laughter fills the spaces within the home. Everyone forgets about the daily problems in their lives and also the world.

For others who never forget that the reason of Christmas is to celebrate Jesus birthday it is a double reason to smile. Extra activities being performed at local churches. Kiddies involved in plays. Families driving through cities to see Christmas Lights. Families coming together for the noon meal.

As I sit here typing I can go back in time very easily and hear the echos of joy. I can remember faces that were once again introduced and hear comments of my how much I have grown since last year.

I cherish the memories of families holding hands while Dad or Grandpa said grace giving thanks to our heavenly Father for all we have been blessed with. The preparations for this holiday and changing of hearts last for maybe a month or longer.

Then it is over. Poof, like a wand being drizzled over our heads. The trees go down, all brightly decorated pretties are placed in the boxes saving them for the next year. Kids go back to school. Parents go back to work. Or maybe the homeless go back to the cold and weary lives of lost hope.

I have chosen Santa because he is the one fantasy that can bring hope, faith, love, smiles, laughter, filled bellies,  presents, singing, churches  and families together longer than any other holiday. Easter is a close second to me but without the Easter Bunny and the excitement may only last a day up to a week.

For my brother’s sake I did get him a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup four-inch tall chocolate bunny. I have it sitting here waiting for the day to arrive. I can’t be mean or rude. My personal feelings about this blessed event are mine alone. For Al who is more child-like he will enjoy the fantasy part about receiving candy and so I will place this special bunny in his hands and watch him smile.

I Just Have to Share This Touching Story With You!


Thank-you to Lucy for sharing this heart felt story with me

Santa and me

Santa and me (Photo credit: Kate Sherrill)

SANTA AND SARAH
Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the McAllister Mall in Saint John. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.

Who is this?” asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend?

“Yes, Santa,’ he replied. “My sister,  Sarah, who is very sick,” he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue. “She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” the child exclaimed. “She misses you,” he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

“What is it?” Santa asked warmly.

“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but..” the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

“The girl in the photograph… my granddaughter well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays,” she said through tear-filled eyes. “Is there any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon.  He knew what he had to do. “What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying,” he thought with a sinking heart, “This is the least I can do.”

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to the Hospital.

“Why?” Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day.

“C’mon…..I’ll take you there.” Rick said softly. Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa.

They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said, he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah in the bed.

The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

“Santa!” shrieked little Sarah, weakly as she tried to escape her bed to run to him IV tubes intact.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug.

A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But, all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of, huge blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “Thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year.

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

“Oh, yes, Santa… I do!” she exclaimed.

“Well, I’m going to ask angels watch over you.” he said.  Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that, God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, “Silent Night, Holy Night….all is calm, all is bright.”  The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.  “Now, Sarah,” he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at McAllister Mall this time next year!”

He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he “had” to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.

“Yes, Santa!” Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.

Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.

Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.
“My only child is the same age as Sarah,” he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.” They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa was again back on the set in Saint John for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

“Hi, Santa! Remember me?!”

“Of course, I do,” Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a “good” Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the “only” child in the world at that moment.

“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”

Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.  “Sarah!” he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.

He had witnessed –and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!