Tuesday, November 30, 2010
On The Second Day of Christmas: Susan Meier
Of course, not all Christmas Eves were quiet and calm. One Christmas Eve, we had to travel twenty miles into the city. We were smart kids so we knew we were being taken Christmas shopping. One of my parents would lead us through the store and the other would follow behind, secretly buying the gifts we ooohed and ahhed over. (If it sounds fun, that’s because it was!)
But something happened. As we were driving along, the car’s water pump broke or maybe it was the fuel pump. My dad found the part and luckily had a brother who only lived a mile or so away from the junkyard (we bought secondhand in those days) and he drove into my uncle’s garage to fix it.
As my dad worked feverishly to get it installed, we sat in the backseat of the car, talking amongst ourselves. There were at least six of us at the time, maybe even eight. In the days before 24-hour Walmarts and credit cards, the older kids knew the stores closed at nine and it was after eight. The clock was ticking.
We also knew our parents weren’t made of money. Had the part cost too much? Was all their money gone? Would we even get presents?
It was after nine by the time Dad got the car fixed and we drove home in silence. We went to bed even more silent. Our parents hadn’t even driven by the local department store. No point. Time had run out.
The next morning, we awoke bleak. But my brother, the first one downstairs, yelped with joy. Santa been there!
We raced downstairs and under the tree were tons of gifts. It was a miracle…or maybe there really was a Santa.
Years later, we recognized the gifts we got were all little things bought at the local drug store that stayed open until eleven. My dad had probably gone out after we went to bed.
But, though small, some of those gifts were my absolute favorites. I remember the pop beads and the medical bag with candy pills. Yet I can’t remember things I got in years when my parents had tons more money to spend and more time to shop. It was the joy of the miracle of it all that made everything more memorable.
You can catch up with Susan at her website: http://www.susanmeier.com/
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