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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Wish You a Greasy Christmas

I was just making some peanut butter balls with the kids today. I suggested they might become Sammie's Christmas specialty when I saw she had quite a gift for the chocolate candy coating.  She agreed, "I think we should make these EVERY year."  Christmas traditions at six.  I love it!

I'd never made them before today.  Christmas holds so many special memories for me, but home made goodies isn't one of them.  My sweet Aunt Betty used to come with lots of home made treats for us and we couldn't wait for her to get there!

Many of my fondest memories growing up have my dad in the foreground. For a lot of years, he was the Sheriff in our hometown and the office was open Christmas Eve.  He gave everyone else the day off so they could be with their families and he worked until it was time to close.  

In the meantime, Mom and I were busy "assembling" goodies.  If there was baking, mixing or candy coatings, I don't remember.  I remember fancy cheese and wine baskets for some friends. And, very practical, yet still yummy things for other friends.

For several years in a row, Daddy wanted me to meet him downtown at closing time.  He'd lock up and we take a walk around the courthouse square.  He'd tell stories (yes, the ones I'd already heard several times) and stop and look at a doorway as if he could see an old friend standing there.  He'd remind me what each building used to be and what memories they held for him.  

After that, we'd go by the house and pick up all the things Mom and I had been preparing.  We were the delivery team.  It was so fun. From the grand houses of doctors to old friends in the projects, we delivered Christmas cheer.  

One time, Mom did go with us. (Honor, do you remember this? -- catty corner from the funeral home?) This time it wasn't just a gift basket, but several gift packages, beautifully wrapped, plus a basket of goodies.  This time, Daddy didn't send me to the door.  He said, "Come on.  I want you to see this." This time we parked.  This time we all got out and went to the front door. I'd never noticed this run-down house before and didn't know the middle-aged man who answered the door in his t-shirt, or the elderly lady standing behind his shoulder.

Daddy said, in his best, merry, Santa voice, "Ho, ho, ho!  Merry Christmas!"  Gosh he had such a way about him that made people feel special.  Anyway, this lady, with slightly gray (and a little greasy) hair invited us in.  You could kind of smell what you were getting into even on the front porch.  Daddy introduced us to her and to her grown and I'm pretty sure mentally handicapped son, who also had greasy hair.  There I was, a 14-year old girl, in my plaid skirt from Talbot's, feeling more than a little uncomfortable.

Mom and Daddy handed them their gifts which they wanted to open immediately.  The man opened a package of brand new boxer shorts and t-shirts.  I was mor-ti-fied.  He grinned from ear to ear and tried to say something.  I couldn't understand him, but Daddy put his arm on his shoulder and just said, "Merry Christmas" again. 

The lady opened her big box and I saw a winter coat.  I don't know how to describe it.  It wasn't ugly really, just not so pretty to me.  Not in style.  Again, I was embarrassed. 

She reacted as if she'd opened a full-length mink coat. She came over and hugged my dad and just cried and cried about how thankful she was and how she didn't know how she was going to get through the winter without a coat.  I didn't think she was going to let go.  Daddy was teary, too and so was Mom.  

We didn't stay long and nobody said anything when we got in the car.  I guess that's why he wanted us to see it.  Some things can't be explained.  Like overwhelming gratitude for an out-dated coat and underwear.

What are you grateful for this Christmas?  
 

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4 comments:

  1. THAT is a great story. Brought tears to my eyes. We have so much to be grateful for! We are having tons of snow up here, so I am grateful for warm shelter- something we so take for granted. Merry Christmas!

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  2. I do remember that one, and many others like it. Daddy sure did know the true meaning of Christmas. Man, I miss him! Sob, sob!

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  3. What a great legacy! Now THAT is a tradition to continue through the ages. Bless you this Christmas.

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  4. I love when you give me a glimpse of your dad.

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