My Christmas Memory0
When our days come to an end, the dimensions of the hole that we are buried in are remarkably similar. There is not much room for extras, so the real measure of a man is the memories he has accumulated, and those he has created for others. During the Christmas season, a childhood memory that comes back to me year after year goes like this;
On the night before Christmas, the tree was decorated with paper snowflakes and chains, popsicle stick stars and a long string of popcorn with a few cranberries mixed in for color. With my mom’s guidance, a tree full of decorations was an easy accomplishment for five kids. Coming home from another long day in the woods, my dad didn’t even look at it as he walked through the front door, and without speaking a word, retrieved his Ruger .44 carbine rifle from his bedroom, retraced his steps back to his pickup truck and drove off. The next morning, there were gifts for all of us kids under that tree.
If you are thinking that my dad robbed the Ben Franklin store on Christmas eve, you are so dead wrong that you probably don’t deserve to read the rest of the story. At whatever age I was then, 8, maybe 10, I knew on Christmas morning that someone else was the proud owner of my dad’s only deer rifle, and that he had done what he felt he needed to do in order to make great Christmas memories for his kids. Little did he know how great. Some 35+ years later, with a grown child of my own, it amazes me how much I think about that unselfish act.
Mom and Dad simplified life’s lessons into very few words: Do what you can with what you have; Make it better for the next generation, but make sure they respect it. Renee and I have tried our best to instill those same values of “upward mobility” into our daughter, Morgan, and so far, seems like a success. All is good. And, as the provider for this family, I know that the the only way I am ever at peace is if I have done my best.
With all of the crazy in the world, I hope you all can enjoy the few things in life that are truly important during the holiday season. Make some memories. Make some really good ones! And if anyone bumps into a good deal on a Ruger .44 carbine rifle, I would love to replace the one that I think of often.