Saturday, December 17, 2016

It sure would be nice to see a little Christmas magic right about now

This is me waving a magic wand, Christmas morning, 1972.  I’ve shared this story a few too many times with family & other loved ones, but I’m guessing I’ll probably go to my grave saying this was the best Christmas I ever had.

It actually began several weeks earlier, the day after my 11th birthday.  I was with my mom at SA Meyers Jewelry where she was picking up a wristwatch she’d had repaired, when I spotted a pair of musical note cuff-links in the display case and told her she should get them for Dad for Christmas.  (He was a musician on the weekends.) 

Mom said “No, YOU should.”

music note cufflinksI looked at the price tag and my jaw dropped.  “I can’t afford these, they’re $7.99!”  She said “Yes you can.  You get $1.50 weekly allowance, if you put them on layaway today and make a dollar payment every week, you could have them paid off by Christmas.” 

To be honest, I withered a little inside—that money was already budgeted for candy & comic books!  But at the same time I felt nervous & excited at the idea of getting my Dad something so dressy and mature for Christmas, so I said I’d do it.

(And for the next seven Mondays, my mom drove me to town after school where I made my dollar payment.  I picked them up exactly one week before Christmas.) 

That Friday before Christmas, no sooner had we gotten to school we were handed red boxes of Redstone candy and told we were being sent straight home; it was snowing pretty heavily, and the forecast said a couple feet of the good stuff was heading our way.

Can this Christmas get any better? 

When our bus pulled up to the red-dog road leading to our old farmhouse, we saw Dad pulling into the driveway with Grandma Morris in the passenger seat.  Now I was thrilled to have Grandma spending Christmas with us this year more than anyone, but that wasn’t until Monday and it was still Friday morning.  As we ran to hug her, Dad said “I figured we’ll be snowed in by Christmas, so I talked your grandma into spending a couple extra days with us.”     

Christmas just got even better.  Smile   


My sisters Donda-Lin & Shawn, and Grandma Morris on the couch

So of course it was a wonderful weekend, blustery and cold, the snow piled high in blue drifts with no signs of stopping. 

But inside was warm and cheerful and noisy with three adults and five kids (our youngest sister Courtney wouldn’t be here for another 3 years yet), the livingroom smelling of pine tree and old decorations, our kitchen table & every inch of counter space filled with platters of cookies and fudge, bowls of fruit and nuts and boxes of assorted chocolates.  This year had Grandma’s fresh baked bread and pies as well.

I was very excited with the gifts I’d gotten that Christmas morning—a snazzy red bathrobe, a magic set from Grandma, an ant farm and my “big gift”—a metal desk & chair, it’s drawers filled with drawing paper, pencils & markers.   What I enjoyed most though, was my gift to Dad—as he opened the small round jewelry box containing the cuff-links, Mom told him how I was the one who saw them, and made weekly payments.  When he said “Doug they’re beautiful” and hugged me, I busted out crying! 

I can only remember my dad hugging me a couple times in my life, and this was one of them.

I suppose I treasure these memories like I do, and hold onto them so tight, because I never really made new ones of my own.  I’ve gotten a lot older, but can’t help but feel like I never made a real effort to grow up.  For reasons even I can’t explain, I never pursued getting married or having kids of my own… some years I feel some regret over that. 

I suppose this year is one of them.  

A few weeks ago, my TMJ (jaw disorder) returned with a vengeance.  I walk around my half empty apartment in Waynesburg (why did I move, ugh) with these small white patches on my jowls from a portable TENS unit that zaps electrical impulses into my jaw muscles.  Some days the pain isn’t too severe and I can chat with my neighbors and talk on the phone some and pretend I’m half normal. 

Then there are days like yesterday & today, where all you can do is sit & stare, and wonder.  (Not a very cheery message, I know!)  I have to believe I’m going to recover from this, be my old self again and make some new holiday memories.  Until then, for what it’s worth… 

Merry Christmas


  1. Hey Doug, I read this wonderful story of yours earlier and then meant to comment on it. Just want to say I hope you have a very Merry Christmas with hopefully some nice new memories being created and that your health woes disappear in 2017. Look forward to more blog posts from the teepee in the year to come!

  2. Wow what a sweet message, thanks so much Pam. I sure hope you & your family have a wonderful Christmas too.


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