Holiday Memories

A great deal of traffic this week on folks reflecting what the Christmas Season means to them.  Heavy emphasis on “memories of past holidays” and how it all seems to stick with them, over the years, and never goes away.  This is just that type of story, and at Christmas time in the Heartland.  

A Different Kind Of Christmas Story

The mind is kind of funny about memories, things that happened decades ago, are firmly implanted in our psyche and we seem to be imprinted much like a newborn duck.  We all manage to carry this little bag of goodies in our head, tucked way back in the back-waters of time.  To the dismay of a few, things like memories, good or bad, often pop up during the Holidays.

A friend of mine, who is 84 years young this year, reminded me of this.  We were talking and discussing issues, as friends tend to do, and he shared with me a story of his youth and told me just how it was that it had stuck with him forever.

When he was a young lad, he had a dog, and this dog got sick.  It got so sick that his father told him one night after supper, “that he had to take the rifle, take the dog out in the woods, and put it out of its misery.”  He said that he was 12 years old at that time, and that he really did not want to do this.  But his father told him, it is YOUR dog and it is sick, it is your duty to do this.

Then he proceeded to tell me how he took the dog out into the woods and shot it.  How just before he did this, he sat down with the dog, petted it, softly talked to the animal, and how it moaned just before he put it out of his misery.

He said that thought had stuck with him all of his life, it never went away.  Then he said to me, “you ever have anything like that happen to you?”

So, as it is Christmas and everyone seems bound to share memories, I will share mine. 

It happened some 25 or 30 years ago as I remember it.  I was feeling kind of down, and saddled with a couple of kids, that did not appreciate anything that you did for them (See?  It’s not just this generation, it has happened before) and this generally turned my thinking around to those who are amongst us that are clearly less fortunate.

I drove down to the main post office in Oklahoma City and asked the postal clerk if they had any letters to Santa Claus.  His reply was, “Sure, we have a bunch, how many do you want?” 

So I said, “give me three of ‘em.”

Drove out to the Mall and there in the quiet of the parking lot, I read the letters.  The first two were not all that impressive, a little boy who wanted a fire truck and number two was a girl, who was asking for a new doll.

It was the third letter that nailed me dead in the water.  In America they have a saying, “men don’t cry” but on this particular day, that quickly melted away.  This letter, #3, brought a huge lump to my throat and as I read it, I began to quietly cry and the tears freely flowed down my cheeks. 

It began like any other letter to Santa but it was the request that literally broke my heart or came close to wounding it severely.

In a child’s hand the small lad had written: 

“I don’t need anything for me, thank you.  But Santa, if you can, will please bring my little sister a coat or jacket, she is really cold.”

That was an ocean of time ago, and every Christmas I think about shopping for that coat, and leaving it on her front porch with “a note from Santa.”  It humbles my spirit and in a small way, it touches my soul.  In its own special and unique way, it also reminds me what the real reason for the season truly may be …



Possibly Related  Joshie’s Letter

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2 thoughts on “Holiday Memories

  1. Beautiful, very touching. Some place deep inside all of us is that small lad we need to revive.

    Thank you so much it is always good to hear that.


  2. Back in the early ’70’s prior to moving to the “right coast” (biggest mistake) me ‘n the family lived in Newark, CA on the “left coast” I was a member of the Newark Jaycees at the time and for several Christmas holidays, we, along with the Fremont Jaycees went to the local Safeway stores and asked for them to donate turkeys. Upon getting said fowl (s) we then commenced to going into the “hard luck” neighborhoods and handing out those birds to the more then needy folk.
    I know in my heart after reading that last paragraph of yours DS, that I too broke down physically to crying my eyes out (the other guys ‘n wives too) when the head (s) of those families lit up with pride and thanks that somebody DID in fact care about them, at least for a day. It just made our own celebration of Christmas that much better too !


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