On my knees in my under-the-eaves storage space, I pawed through the box of Christmas books stored there where they’d been stuck five years ago when we moved to this house.
I searched for something to read at a friend’s tree-lighting ceremony later that night. As the real candles on the tree were lit, those assembled would listen to thoughts gathered on Christmases past by those long past celebrating.
I found a book, Christmas Treasures, and before I could begin reading the poems and essays to find just the right one for the party, I saw several sheets of folded, yellowed notebook paper stuck into the pages of the book.
Pulling them out and scanning them, I saw the writing of my high school English students from long ago, so long ago I couldn’t remember exactly how far back. I read them once again, this time not having to worry about editing and grading. In my hand resided poems and favorite Christmas memories. I saw their young faces in my mind’s eye.
One of the young writers wrote about his favorite Christmas memory up to his ripe age of 16. His parents had bought him the motorcycle he wanted. He’d seen it beforehand and assumed his father had bought it for himself. Then when his last gift was opened, it was a key, and he knew his wish had been granted.
If you have a teenager, you know how difficult it is to wring much information from them, especially one that involves emotion and gratefulness for family. Here was an opportunity for me to pass on that information. Enlightenment 20 or so years later is still enlightenment. I knew what I would do.
Back downstairs, out of the attic and standing upright again, I looked up his parents’ address, put the paper in an envelope, stamped and mailed it.
Continuing to read through the book of Christmas Treasures, I found just the right poem to share with fellow celebrants at the festivities that night.
Even so, it came to me that though I’d found my piece by a professional writer to read, the real Christmas treasure of the day had been a son’s 16 year-old favorite memory I could gift to his parents.