What Christmas is about

As for Christmas presents, I have to say I have nothing left of any present I received as a child. Nothing physical anyway. I have vivid memories though of many wonderful things. An entire Hoppalong Cassidy outfit complete with guns when I was four. Oh yes I learned to shoot at an early age. A real Daisy BB Pistol at 8 years old. The front of it broke down and you could shoot one BB, pellet, or dart at a time. I’m ashamed now to admit it, but I once killed a sparrow with it. I was like Opie Taylor though, and cried. Then I went and buried it. I never shot another living thing with that gun. At 10 I got a Schwynn Bicycle, and learned to ride it quickly. I stayed around the streets close to home though. I ranged far from home at times, but usually on foot with a big stick in my hand or a baseball bat on my shoulder. At 11 years old, I got a reflective telescope which I never learned to use. Always every year, there were books, comics and classics. There were ball cards. At 12 years old a Lionel train. I remember all these things now so clearly, as I write if them. I could go on and on…My first record player at thirteen…but, it’s not the things, which are all now long gone which counted. My Dad helped me learn to ride my bike, and to shoot my gun. I remember the look of happiness in HIS eyes even now…just like it was yesterday. His laughter at my foibles and mistakes. That familiar laugh, so distinctive. It’s not the gifts. It never really was. I would bundle them all together, all of them I ever got just to hear that laugh once more. Christmas should be more about presence than presents, more about the giving of memories than the receiving of things which do not last. Christmas is what you receive in your heart and keep forever.

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