Each year at Christmas, I begin to recall how I spent Christmas as child, a time when life was much more innocent than it is now as an adult. This year was no exception. With everything going on in the world, there was one story I kept flashing back to in my mind. As my memory serves me, the following story is very special to me this year.
Not too long ago, Christmas Eve was always celebrated at my mother’s parents’ house. All of my aunts, uncles and cousins would gather for dinner and gifts around 5:00 pm. Much to my cousins, sister and my dismay, the dinner always took place first. And then further to our dismay, we had to wash the dishes before presents could be opened. And my grandparents at that time had no dishwasher, other than my aunts or when we were older, me, my sister and cousins. After the kitchen was cleaned, we all gathered in the living room for family photos and opening of presents.
After the celebration my family would travel to Blount County, Alabama, to spend the night with my dad’s parents on the lake. We would always travel the back road to my grandparents’ house, because it seemed to be easier and less traveled. I will never forget one Christmas Eve, which happened to be a very cold night, it was late and we were traveling that road, we came upon an elderly couple who had a flat tire. When you see something like this, it’s very easy to pass it by and not be bothered. But that’s not my dad. He decided to stop and lend a helping hand. I watched him in the freezing cold help change this couple’s tire. They were very, very grateful to him.
My dad’s act of kindness that cold winter’s night and the couples’ gratitude are the true meaning of Christmas to me.