Curiosity led to happiness! I found a crunchy sounding package that soon had a very small hole torn into the corner. The crunchy meant cellophane, and that meant it was probably a window for a doll. So ever so often the hole would get bigger, and my dream came true when I saw a doll shoe. I stopped there, oh the guilt of it all, and waited for Christmas! The tag said it was from my grandma, and since it wasn’t from Santa I didn’t think it could be that wrong! Oh, the logic of a six-year-old about to commit a Christmas crime!
But the presents began piling up, and wow I had never seen it that way! A lot of them were for my Dad’s brothers who were ten years or so younger. Just married a couple of years, he and my Mom took them in on a budget of little with hearts full of love….all four of them! Now they had six kids, and the deep freezer was always full of old bread and cupcakes from the bread truck driver…a friend!
That Christmas season my Dad was working on the porch, and I just couldn’t understand what all the huffing was about. Then he flipped the switch and asked us to come out past that small inset cement porch into the cold night air. And there more beautiful than stars was a string of Christmas lights, glowing with happiness it seemed to me. I stared at the large bulbs that were multi-colored, and I looked up at my Dad. I noticed him smiling at his handiwork. Reverently we all stood there admiring that simple string of lights that moved the flat brown house into a Christmas shrine forever…but I didn’t know it then!
I have a priceless photo of my Dad sitting in a chair that Christmas bent over the instructions to my doll that he held in his hands. It was a second doll that I hadn’t “discovered” under the tree. The porch is visible in the background, and that wonderful screen door that made such a great popping sound announcing the in and out of every kid. It is funny the things you remember that are so small, but so great, so simple! The tree, the lights, and my grandmother sitting on the couch smiling. That was my first memory of her. Some of the best invisible presents that I received in life came from her. Good is usually not complicated! Wishing everyone a great and simple Christmas! …..Terri O.A.