Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Memory

When I was a kid, Christmas was a huge event for me. I loved everything about Christmas-the sights, the music, the gifts, the food and especially the family times when my brothers and sisters from out of town would come to our house.

I am one of ten children, and one of the characteristics of a large family is that you have to share almost everything. I especially know all about hand-me-down clothes.

My brother Donny and I even had to share a second-hand bicycle that we were given. It was a heavy, blue 26” Schwinn ladies model with balloon tires. Being the younger sibling, I don’t remember getting to ride this bicycle very much and longed for my own.

When I was nine, I got my very own bicycle. I remember that Christmas especially, for that was a huge gift in my life.

On Christmas Eve I decided to go outside and shoot some fire crackers before heading in for the night. Just as I lit a whole string of fire crackers a truck pulled into our driveway and the head lights aimed my way. My Dad came out of the house to greet the truck, saw me in the back yard and in his stern voice said, ‘Mike, get in the house right now.’

I didn’t know what was up, but I did notice that the truck was from the Easy-Pay Tire store in town. The Easy-Pay Tire Store was the catch-all store in Lewisburg for everything from tires and auto parts to bicycles, toys and footballs.

I knew that truck was bringing something special to our house for Christmas, but for whom I couldn’t guess.

Thirty minutes later some well-wishers came to our front door to greet Mom and Dad, so while they were distracted, I made a mad dash for the garage. I saw one of mom’s old quilts draped over something that I hadn’t noticed before. I slipped over, raised a corner of the quilt and to my surprise there sat a new bicycle. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.

Well, I couldn’t stay. I was fearful that Mom and Dad would find me, so I dropped the quilt corner and headed back inside, thrilled with my discovery.

Bedtime came, but I was far from sleepy, which was typical for me on Christmas Eve. To make matters worse, I had to share the bedroom with my Dad because we had a houseful of siblings visiting for Christmas. As was typical, Dad went to bed around 8:30 PM. Finally, around 11:00 PM I knew I needed to hit the sack, so off to bed I trudged. I wasn’t sleepy, but knew I would never be allowed to stay up all night.

After tossing and turning for two hours, I decided it was time to slip out of bed and see what great Christmas surprises were under our tree and in our living room.

Just as I slipped over the side of my bed, Dad’s voice stopped me. “Get back in bed!”

Dad had a deep, stern voice and no one argued with Dad, so back to bed I crawled. I finally drifted off to sleep -- for a couple of hours. Around 3:00 AM I awakened and decided it was time to try again. I could hear a steady breathing rhythm coming from Dad, so I felt the coast was clear.

I quietly put one leg out from under the covers, then the other, then threw back the covers, trying not to make the bedsprings squeak. I finally made it to my feet, gently opened the bedroom door and headed down the hall to the living room where the Christmas tree was.

There she sat -- a beautiful new ruby red bicycle with front and rear fenders, a two-speed gear shifter and a white seat. It was a 24” bicycle and it was the most beautiful bike in the world.

Of course I received other gifts that Christmas but they were all overshadowed by my new bicycle.

Oh, to be a child again. I hope you find the unexpected, the longed-for, and the wanted and needed gifts this holiday season. And I hope some of them are gifts of relationship, gifts of love, gifts of acceptance, gifts of peace and gifts of contentment.

No comments:

Post a Comment