Tonight I share a personal Christmas story that took place at childhood; however, it is one of the most memorable Christmas Eves for me. It was a cold, dreary, snowy late afternoon on December 24th, 1974; all five boys and their mother were wearing layers of clothing to keep warm in their 12 x 60 foot mobile home. Blankets were strewn on the couch, where we all bundled together to stay warm on that Holiday evening. No gifts, no heat, no candy canes were in the house, but we did have joy, laughter, love, cookies and hot tea to help give us warmth, (oh, and we had potatoes, lot of potatoes). My brothers and I sang Christmas carols and tried to console our Mother in telling her we did not need any presents as we had each other, a home, and a GOD that loved us.
Suddenly we became quiet as an unexpected car pulled in front of our trailer house with the sliding glass door that was partially frozen shut and had ice build up on the lower half of the glass. The six of us peered out at the lady who stepped out of the four door gray sedan covered in bright red from head to foot with hat, gloves, heavy coat and black boots, we watched intensely as she opened the trunk of her car and pulled out a large green canvas military style bag. Immediately we started working on loosening up the door to let our unknown guest into our home. With canvas bag slung over her shoulder, she climbed the wooden steps to our humble abode.
Our guest once in the our house, asked if we were the Austin Family? Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes came the replies from five curious boys, awaiting to see what was in the large green bag. The lady looked at my mother, then spoke these words, "Well, I am with the Salvation Army and we received information that your family could not afford gifts for Christmas, so I have brought gifts of toys and clothes donated for you." The Angel of a woman had barely finished her introduction, when my mother replied quite harshly "We do not accept Charity!" The Salvation Army woman began to explain further that it was not considered Charity, but my Mother continued her vehement stance "that this family would not accept these gifts" and she added "Thank You for coming." The lady picked up the bag, again slung it over her shoulder and headed back into the cold. Our Mother turned and saw five distressed looking young men that would have a hard time singing any more Christmas Carols that evening and she hung her head. She then slid open the door and called out to the lady as stoic as possible, "Please come back in, each of my boys can choose one item each," she then looked at me, smiled and said "go help the lady carry the bag."
Five young boys squealed with pleasure, the oldest at fourteen, the youngest at seven years of age, the other three in between. "The Helper of Santa" or "The Christmas Angel", she was called many a great name that evening, She from the Salvation Army came into the house with a huge smile and gently opened the "Santa Claus Sack" and put all the contents onto the linoleum floor, we carefully analyzed each item as if they were diamonds, jades, pearls, gold, and sterling silver. I knew the instant I saw it leave the bag, what gift was mine, a great looking used leather baseball mitt. I put that leather McGregor ball glove so finely stitched and broke in on my left hand and it fit perfectly. I do not remember what my 4 Brothers chose that beautiful Christmas Eve, but I do remember all of them being as pleased and thankful with their gifts as was I with mine. I looked at my Mother with more Love than I had ever known for her, knowing that She had made the choice of bringing joy to her sons over her strong sense of pride. Mother had suffered humiliation as a Human Being and Woman but had triumphed as a Mother of Goodness.
The youngest sibling of the five boys was still able to believe in Santa Claus as we concocted a story that the Lady was a friend of St. Nicholas and she was helping him out that night as he was so busy with other children's deliveries around the world. We would celebrate three more Christmas Eves and Days together as a family before the youngest sibling was taken from us in this world to be an Angel in Heaven. Little Steve Austin, the 'Six Million Dollar Boy,' (his nickname) was lucky, he still believed in Santa Claus when his life ended.
The next Christmas that rolled around in December after his death, not was heard a Christmas tune in the Austin household; all of us were still greiving, we never got over not having our littlest brother asking questions about Santa Claus, his elves, his reindeer and the North Pole. It took me tens of years to again enjoy the Christmas Holiday, it was my least favorite time of year. Once again, I have the Christmas Spirit and am thankful for all that I have, most of all for My Family and for My Friends.
This story is dedicated to my Dear, Dear Mother !
Special Thanks to the Salvation Army (still my favorite Charity).
My heart goes out to Noah Biorkman's Family and Friends, this will be a tough Christmas for each of them.
Let us put the "Christ" back into Christmas. If Christianity is not your religion, I mean no disrepect, but it is the way I believe and this is my Blog to write my stories, my feelings and my beliefs. I hope each of you continue to read my Blogs. I respect all other religions that have regard for human life and human feelings. I enjoy the Earth being so different, that is why it is such a joy to travel to strange and unfamiliar Worlds. May God Bless Us all this Holiday Season and throughout the New Year of 2010.
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Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas, Nevada put another nail in the coffin of the BCS Bowl Series with step child conference "Mountain West Conference" Brigham Young University Cougars manhandling the Oregon State Beavers of the PAC 10 in the "City of Sin." This adds more fire to pleas from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Mountain West Conference of belonging to the BCS Bowl Championship Series in the future. Added thorns are the #6 Boise State University Broncos and #4 TCU Horned Frogs playing in the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in the Grand Canyon State of Arizona. Sorry Lou Holtz, you can't keep it the "good ol boys club" forever.
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