Today is the start of the real Holiday Season for me at least, others may begin earlier or even later, I believe the 15th does it for me. The Cards come in the mail, the packages are bought the Wreath goes up over the Fireplace and a swag on the door. The lights go on and off once a day, and the house feels more pleasant.
The first snows begin to fall the landscape goes white and looks fresh and pure again and the Holiday Tunes come out everywhere you go and on the radio and elsewhere in homes. People smile a little more and rush a bit more, yet one thing they don’t seem to do in all the Holiday rush and business, slow down to just remember what the Season means to many of us, who are a little old fashioned.
Yes I know I am a bit old fashion in my beliefs, I grew up in a home where Christmas was a little special for all. Cookies would bake, food woul dbe bought, a meal planned for the big day. The Stereo would play the old Christmas Music of Bing Crosby, and others, and tradition would be watched on Television.
We had a big old Dutch Colonial Home in Naugatuck, CT. I had a fireplace so it would get lit on the big day and across the room would be the six foot christmas tree all decorated and lit up. As kids the house would come alive on Christmas Morning when we awoke and ran downstairs to find the presents all wrapped and piled up around the base of the tree and into the room. We would look through them to see what pile was whoms and laugh and giggle in joy as we waited for our parents to get up.
The big openings would happen and each of us got what we believed was special to us, in our own way. Well, let me tell you about the real Christmas story here, it is not about children receiving gifts and giggles and smiles. It is about a special Christmas Moment, when a young man who grows up, finds a way to give back. It went like this really, so listen closely.
It began in October of that year when I as a 16 year old boy, decided I wanted to give back to my mother for what she had gone through raising myself and my siblings over the years. I decided she deserved something special and no one else would even think about it, but I did. I took a walk downtown in Naugatuck that year and saw it in a window of a Jewelry store Michaels to be precise. I stared at it daily for weeks, and checked the prices on it and saved to get it for mom.
Each paycheck from that moment until I picked it up two days before Christmas I made payments out of my paycheck from my first job at Uniroyal. I never missed that payment for I would get my check and in excitement cash it and put aside the money for two things one the rent I had to pay my parents for living at home and the present for mom. So, I would go from payday to the bank then, straight to Michael’s. It was a silver band and attached were the five birthstones of her children. Left to right they went across the ring, December, January, September, June and July all in a row and shiney and pretty. Every payment put the next stone on the ring, and in the end when I picked it up two days before Christmas day, I hid it in my room and waited till Christmas Morning.
On Christmas Morning, I was ready, the ring was wrapped in a plain white wrapping paper, and had a ribbon on it tied neatly. I slid out of bed that Christmas Morning and hid it behind the stack of presents, Dad had for mom, with a tag that said Thank You, from Your Kids! I Didn’t sign it with my name just Your Kids, I wanted her to think we all chipped in and that was the plan.
We waited for mom and dad before present opening began that morning and I sat and watched. I watched all my siblings and i open the presents we had received and shout cheers of joys and showed faces of joy. Then Dad stepped up and looked under the tree, and there were just moms gifts left there. So he made mom sit on the couch and started one by one handing her her gifts, one card and gift from each of her children and one from Dad himself. As she finished what everyone thought was the final present, Dad looked at me and shook his head and mouthed the word next silently under his breath. How he knew I had no idea, but he knew what she was getting last was the Ring I had bought for her, but he knew.
As the excitement from it all slowed to a crawl . Dad bent one last time and reached under the Tree. Looked down ad then looked at Mom and said one more dear!. Mom looke dup and therein Dad’s big hand was the box all white papered and with a ribbon in his hand. Mom stared and said, “What’s This?” Dad Said, ” I don’t know Dear but it’s for you.” and handed it to her. Mom held it in her hand all neatly wrapped and stared at it for a second it was like time had frozen for a second, she smiled slowly. The she slowly and carefully unwrapped the box, and held a small ring box in her hand all dark blue, She smiled at Dad, but he raised his hands up and said, “Not me dear!.”
Mom open the box with a barely audible click of the box hinge and looked inside, her eyes brimmed with tears and her smile widened. She stared at the ring all silver gold with the five stones on it, and immediately cried in joy as she put it on her finger. She admired it every way she could turning her hand this way and that as we all watched her. It wa son her finger now and she was one proud mom and happy to have it. She read the little card attached as it said We love you and Thank You, your Children!
MOm beamed and thanks all five of us each with a hug and kiss that morning, and she was so happy she had gotten a Mother’s Ring on Christmas Day. She never found out I had bought it for her alone, she died thinking years later it was from all of us, but it wasn’t, it was just me. But that Christmas became the most precise Christmas Memory of all for me, for it was not the receiving that was great it was the giving to that one special person for me. So when Christmas Morning comes and you sit there opening presents think of this, Christmas is a giving time and a special time,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Folks To All!