Monday, December 14, 2009

Blue Christmas

I’ve been fortunate over the years to be able to spend Christmas with family at my parent’s home in the U.P. just about every year, save one. That was my first year living in Wisconsin in 1987. I spent nearly every cent I had to move to the Badger State and being low man on the totem pole had to work that Christmas.

My Mom was kind enough to ship all my gifts via UPS to my new home, a single story duplex just off Lake Minocqua, but they didn’t arrive. At least I didn’t think they had. We were assured they had and were told to check with my neighbor because if I wasn’t home they were probably dropped off there. My neighbor told me she couldn’t figure out why her small car had suddenly been stocked with Christmas gifts.

I resolved that I wouldn’t open them until Christmas and decided to have the best holiday I possibly could. I did have some friends from back home that now lived and worked in Minocqua, in fact one worked at the same radio station. They had their own Christmas going on though.

I’ve never minded working on Christmas Day because it’s the one day of the year when people who call the radio station generally are filled with good will and if they weren’t I had enough to go around. It was of course a White Christmas because I was living in the state’s great Northwoods.

My biggest gift and possibly the best I’ve ever received on any Christmas came while I was milling around my small one-bedroom. There was a knock on the door and my Mom, brothers and sisters had given up their Christmas to come and see me. It was a four and a half hour trip for them and it meant quite a lot.

I had $10 on me and went down to a convenience store to buy gifts for them. They weren’t the best gifts, but they were all I could give and provided me with a story I’ll always be able to trot out at Christmas time. That Christmas taught me it wasn’t about getting, but giving. I hope you have a Merry Christmas. I’ll be with family.