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Wednesday, December 24, 2008My Father's Words
I truly love Christmas, I’m certain that even if it wasn’t the date of my birth I’d still feel the same. I trace it back to my childhood because I was encouraged to believe in all that was magical well beyond the years when other children had stopped.
Christmas is truly a magical season despite the worries of everyday life. People are gentler and kinder what other holiday can make that boast? As I stood on line to pay for my purchases hummed “Santa Claus is coming to town” the cashier smiled at me as I handed her my debit card. A little boy standing on line beside me looked up at me and I winked at him. I continued to sing and he blushed trying to hide his smile behind his mittens. Finally he lowered his hands and began to sing along with me in that magical voice kids have. You know the voice it tugs at the heart of even the most jaded adult.
As I headed for the exit the usually gruff security guard beamed at me from high atop his ladder. He wore a silly Santa hat perched on top of his head and had a fake Santa beard glued to his chin, “Merry Christmas.” he said in his thick Jamaican accent, “I hope you’ll like what I’m leaving under your tree.” “I’m sure I will love it Santa and a Merry Christmas to you too!” I replied.
I walked towards to my car past a group of holiday shoppers and they smiled at me when we made eye contact, “Merry Christmas!” they called out as we passed each other. I put my bags in the trunk and observed a meter maid actually smiling at people and gently reminding them to move their double parked cars instead of reaching for her summons book. As I opened my car door one of the street vendors turned on his CD player and strains of “Oh, Holy Night” filled the night air. I decided to wait for my father out side instead of sitting in the car. The music inspired me to look up into the sky.
The night was so clear I was able to count the stars. I took a deep breath always a risky thing in the city and sampled the air. It smelled crisp, fresh, and clean. It had snowed a few days earlier adding to the joy of the season. The air seemed to shimmer, a by product of happy auras enveloping the world this time of year I thought. A man walked by holding his little girl’s hand; he stopped in front of the vendor to get her a scarf. As he wrapped it around her she asked “Is Santa really coming tonight daddy?” He nodded his head and she jumped up and squealed making everyone around her laugh.
My father walked up to me, smiling at the sight of the little girl. “Santa will be heading out soon little one” he said to me. I smiled at him, “Is there anything special you’re hoping he’ll bring you this year pa?” I asked. He stared at me and smiled “Nothing he can leave me now will ever compare to the gift he left me when I was 21. That really was the greatest gift ever. Nothing will ever top that Christmas gift.”
I wondered what could have possibly been that great of a gift that it couldn’t be topped. “What was the gift pa?” “Fatherhood” he replied. “Huh?” He reached over and gently tweaked my nose, “You were the gift little one. We weren’t expecting you for another three months but you were so impatient that you snuck into Santa’s toy bag and there you were on Christmas morning. No Christmas gif has ever been better than that.”
I’m certain that years from now when the time comes and my own child asks me what was the greatest gift I ever got for Christmas I can honestly say it was my father’s words. Merry Christmas.
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