Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves

Ho Freakin’ Ho


Ahhhhh….coffee!

Up at 5 something a.m. with my niece Ezzie tiptoeing into the room and saying “Time to open up!” Time to open up! Unca Chuck!Aunt Nee! Time to open up!”  Any other day and I’d have trouble waking but it IS Christmas and I am an old kid so I awake easily, make the kids wait while I fix hot cocoa and pass out the cups of steaming chocolate and then the ceremonies…passing out gifts…the unwrapping…the oohs and ahhhs that follow. A scene that repeats year after and never jades.

Now I’m looking at the path of package destruction and wrapping paper, and have the ham in the oven and the potatoes on the stove, the pies fixed and the dinner prepped, so I can take a break. Now I’m hitting that post morning “Ho-freakin’-Ho” Santa lag, tired, contented, and trying to ignore the cost of all this, telling myself there is no price tag on joy. Ho Freakin’ Ho.

Years ago when I was maybe 5 or 6 my Dad did something my mother almost killed him for. He gave his whole paycheck one early December to a man whose house had burned to the ground. He was from our  neighborhood but a total stranger. Dad simply told him, here, you can buy your kids some Christmas anyway and signed over his check. Dad had an impulsive generous streak in him. He told Mom – our Christmas is mostly paid and we’ll figure out the bills – they have nothing. The thing I remember most was Dad not thinking it was any big deal what he’d done. Someone needed the money more than we did. It was, for my Dad, that simple.

A few years later, I ended up in the hospital with rheumatic fever, dad lost his job, the economy had hit a lull and he couldn’t find work for the first time in his life. They’d bought a house in Lima, Ohio, on North Detroit Street, and after a few months they were in danger of losing it. Christmas loomed, dad grew depressed (the only time in my life that I remember him sick and depressed, he was normally always hale and energetic). He worried about the house, how he’d buy Christmas for his 4 kids and wife, and even how to feed us. He wouldn’t even think of the public dole. Ours was, to quote a Dickens title, a “Bleak House.”

A couple weeks before Christmas, a man knocked at our door. He was the same man my father had helped and he handed Daddy a check for a pretty considerable amount in those days – I know it was more than Dad had given him though I’m not sure how much it was exactly. And he told Dad he’d become pretty successful since the fire that took his house and he had a friend in Lima, a businessman looking for a salesman for his office supply company. He’d already recommended Dad. The next morning my dad had work, and the money was enough for us kids to have a great Christmas and to take the pressure off the bills.

A true story. A lesson I’ll carry to my grave. Giving – money or kindnesses done, tithes or volunteer work – is exactly like planting a garden. You never know for sure when it will bloom, but it will, my friends. It surely will.

grandpockets1

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December 25, 2008 - Posted by | Christmas, family | , , , ,

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