Archived Story

When it’s given with love, every gift rocks

Published 10:34am Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“Your Christmas tree looks terrible. Why don’t you get a new one?”

“They don’t make them like this anymore.”

“Don’t you ever wonder why?”

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: even a little shopping is a lot.

It’s not the gift

In the movie, “Christmas Story,” Ralphie said, “Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved.”

During one of my kid years, I wanted to give my mother a Christmas gift I’d made myself. The problem was that the only thing I was good at making was a mess.

I gave Mom a rock on which I’d used old orange Allis-Chalmers paint to letter “I love you” in a childish scrawl.

I wrapped it in the Sunday comics section of a newspaper.

Mom said it was the best gift she had ever received.

Mailbox miracles

It had been a good day. I was swimming in the sea of the season. Nice things had happened. I had found the long lost cap to a favorite pen and I had located old eyeglasses so that I was able to see to tighten a tiny screw holding my newest eyeglasses together.

I arrived home, bone weary from a day of ringing bells for the Salvation Army. Ringing those bells is payment for the air I breathe. I strode into my work-filled office. I looked through the mail — Christmas cards, bills, newspapers, magazines, and letters. The Christmas cards, tending to favor portrayals of cardinals in evergreen trees, buoyed my spirits. Then I opened a letter from an address unfamiliar to me. It was from someone I had met in Ohio several years ago. The envelope contained a small piece of paper. It was plain with nothing on it but words written in black ink. The kind words were cramped and filled the card, curling around the edges. Handwriting adds a dimension to our correspondence — a personality. It and the cards made me happy. Each was a miracle in itself. Where else could someone bring such joy to another for only 44 cents?

Being thankful

Years ago a storm hit. When you live where I do, winter takes the world by storm. The storm hit with the terrible blizzard trifecta — ice, wind, and snow. Utility poles snapped like potato chips. I’m not a winter wimp. I like our coldest season. It gives us vim or maybe it’s vigor. Still, it was hard remaining upbeat without power, heat, and water. At first, it was an adventure. We had no generator or fireplace, so we cuddled for warmth. Cuddling is good.

“Many are cold, but few are frozen,” I said with a smile.

I wore long underwear as I struggled to read books by flickering candlelight. Reading by candlelight is an art that produces more red eyes than any camera trick could ever remove.

A creature of habit, I flipped a light switch whenever I walked into a room. They were as powerless as I was. I missed artificial light, but it was easily obtainable water that I missed the most.

As the cold became colder and the lights remain darkened, it appeared that we had entered the winter of our discontent. It seemed that the meek would inherit a frozen earth.

Days had passed before I saw that one of the many digital timepieces that blink the incorrect time in our house was blinking. The power was on!

I took a shower. It was amazing. It not only took the stink off, it rejuvenated my spirit.

Heat, water, and a switch that brings light are great gifts that I too often take for granted. I need to stop doing that.

Meeting adjourned

“Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; teach us to be patient and always to be kind.”

—Helen Rice

Merry Christmas.

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