The Christmas tree is up and lit but the ornaments -- millions! galaxies! universes of them! -- await tonight when we'll light a fire in the wood stove and bring out boxes and boxes of decorations from storage.
This morning Marianne and I spent shopping. We went to an independent bookstore and bought Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Dangerous Book for Boys. Then we bought an alien invasion set of Legos, an enormous tub of Duplos and a stuffed toy dog that was as big as a real one. And then we dropped them off at the Toy Drive bin at our bank.
There was an article in the paper this morning saying that, because of the economy, donations to Toys for Tots are down eighty percent this year. So we thought we'd take in a little bit of the slack. As we were carrying the toys back to our car, Marianne said sadly, "Imagine not being able to buy your children Christmas presents."
You have no idea how grateful I am to be able to say that.
One day, some years back, I was unpacking a box of oddments and pulled out a "book" made of pages carefully removed from a magazine, then "bound" with Christmas wrapping paper, all tied with a ribbon. It was a Christmas story, with coloured illustrations, from a December (1958?) issue of McCall's.
"Ach," said my mother, "that was from that one Christmas we didn't have enough money to give you anything. Just throw it away."
"No," I said, firmly. "I remember that Christmas, and I remember this book, and it is one of the dearest gifts you ever gave me. I shall never throw it out."
Children do understand these things, they do, they do. But you are good people, to have bought toys for the gift drive, that you are. :)
That's a very touching story.
I called my son (13, always on computer and games) to read your short story. He read it aloud. It is a moving story.
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