Christmas Tree Story #11: The Wrapper.
A Christmas Tree is nothing without pretty packages being placed underneath. One of the most enjoyable parts of Christmas (other than decorating the tree) is wrapping presents. My father retired disabled from military service after 22 years when I was 9 years old. Mom didn’t work outside the home except during the Christmas season. She took a job as a professional gift wrapper at Hemphill-Wells department store in San Angelo at the corner of Beauregard Avenue and Irving Street (today it’s a library I think). Dad would pack David and I up in the car and drive us “down town” to pick up mom from her work. It was always dark when we would take that nightly drive. We would sit (or lay) in the back seat. I liked laying down because I could look up at the Christmas lights that were strung across the streets in down town. Dad would drive around the block several times until she arrived outside the doors. This wasn’t just about picking up mom, but the fact that sometimes she would actually bring home a present of two. The reason mom had this job was to make sure we had a memorable Christmas since money was in very short supply. We always got everything we wanted. Thinking back on it, I never truly realized the sacrifice mom gave for her two rotten boys.
Mom was the most giving person I knew. A few days before Christmas, she would load up the trunk of the car with gifts for loved ones. David and I would be “forced” to go along with her. One stop after another, mom would play the role of bringing good cheer to folks all around San Angelo. Us boys along for the ride, she would glow as she handed a wrapped gift of nothing significant really. We would be invited in and would enjoy a cookie and a lot of boring conversation and catching up. Off to the next house we would go. At the time, David and I hated this annual ritual. Mom, do we really HAVE to go this time? Yes boys, you do. Now get your butt in that car! I suppose the lessons kids are taught are not truly realized until they are much older. It was certainly true for David and me. I can’t tell you how much I miss those visits and seeing the smiles and hugs. I suppose this is the single strongest trait that was given to me from my mother. To give more than you receive. To mom, it was always making other people happy. Thanks mom. I cherish this gift you left me. You are alive and well in every Christmas gift I wrap. Yes, every present you see under my tree this year was wrapped by me under the watchful eye of mom (Momma Sue, MeeMaw, Sister).
May your Christmas Day be blessed beyond measure. I give you my gift today….the love of giving and sharing.