i am trying very hard to be in ANY kind of christmas spirit so here is a holiday offering that actually happened to me when i was very young…
A true Yule story
Long ago, in a little town not far away, I had a most amazing Christmas when I was very young…
It was a hard winter in 1973, my father had been laid off, and the main plant in Bedford Falls had just landed in the hands of that mean Mr. Potter! Or so I was told. It was in point of fact a very bad time.
My parents had banked a little money away for Christmas, but when the layoff came it had to go for rent, heat and other things. For all his faults my father worked hard to support his family. I remember my parents fighting at night about money, and having too many kids to feed, and wishing they had never met. It was a black time for us all.
Trying to conserve on as much as possible, my parents closed off all the rooms upstairs, and only heated the three rooms we had down stairs, but since we lived in a small town and used a fossil fuel called fuel oil, the money got tight quickly so my father heated what he could with the stove in the kitchen.
Two day before Christmas, the power company came and turned off the electricity. It was one of the hardest things I can remember watching my father go through. He prided himself on being a great provider, and this year broke his back as we huddled in the living room under candle light listening to an old transistor radio that worked on batteries.
There was no cheer. There was no hope and it seemed that there would be no home for us all if not for a miracle. I am not a man who believes in miracles. I believe in getting what you put into your life returned. But this was no ordinary year..
On Christmas Eve there was a knock on the door, it was a friend of my mothers and she had a cake. Our eccentric old lady neighbor brought over piles of the Sunday comics for us to read, and a big bowl of candy, because everyone needs candy at Christmas.
My Uncle and the town sheriff bid my father to join them outside and in one sparkling moment, the lights in our home returned. Then all the Who’s we knew from Whoville came bearing their tootinkers, and hob hoblers and before you knew it, Christmas came to our house whether we liked it or not.
There were presents and food and laughter and I saw my father step aside for a moment to wipe a tear from his eye. For all his despair, for all his of his fear that he had lost his ability to bring joy to his family one very special day of the year, he discovered that he was in a most undeniable way a better provider that even he had thought. For in a town as small as Andrews Indiana, nearly everyone knew him and respected him enough to lend aid when aid was needed.
I got a helicopter. It was metal, and noisy. It lit up, and rolled around the floor, and made a terrible racket, and a star trek phaser that shot little blue plastic disks, but not at people if I knew what was good for me.
I suffer from the same year my father had. Not able to provide as I would like and unable to provide any sort of Christmas at all. My coffers are spent and my downtime bent on selling everything I own to keep a cash flow going in the hopes that a few pennies will go to buying the things I need to buy to feel successful and then I look back years later and find that the Who’s had gone to the Salvation Army for the gifts, and they spent extra time in their own holiday to cook the roast beast, and fine Who trimmings.
It was the magic of the day I remember most. I try to add a little laughter to this story because it still brings a tear to my eye when I think about how Christmas was saved by all the people in our lives. It may not have been the gift of the magi, but it was one time when a prayer by some naive little kid in the middle of the sticks was answered, and for the last time in his life, Christmas was magic.
This entry is for my father,
We may never have gotten along very well, but he always had my deepest respect.
Merry Christmas one and all