Kissin’ Kuzzins: The Magic of Christmas

Published 12:59 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2017

By Dickie Dixon

Belated birthdays:  November birthdays:  27th:  Morty Halyard

For Posterity’s Eyes:  November birthdays:  30th:  Mal Hermes, Keith Stephens, Melodye French    December birthdays:  2nd:  Ruth Rugg, Taylor Alexanader, John Williams, Cathey Page  4th:  Nell (Tucker) Coker

Milestones:  Mary Lee (Murray Font) Wallace was born November 30, 1918.

The Magic of Christmas Christmas has always been special for me ever since I could remember.  From receiving an American Flyer train at one from Joske’s in Houston, a frontier town at six or seven, a larger bicycle at nine or ten, or a Jeep Cherokee at forty-six, special gifts always came my way.  I wonder, sometimes, if my Mother overcompensated for what she didn’t get when she was a girl; maybe she made sure her children wouldn’t share those experiences.  From reading her diary between the years of 1929-1933, I know that was true for us about birthdays.

But, of course, someone will say:  “But Dickie, Christmas is not just about receiving, it’s about giving.”  To which, I would reply”  “You are exactly right!”  As a boy, I gave well, I believe, and I received well.  I gathered my money—from weeding the flowerbeds, mowing yards, working for my father at his furniture store, or putting the wood in my Ma Ma Dixon’s wood box—and I put some thought in to the question:  “Now what can I get him/her that this person would really love?”  The key to being a great gift giver is (1) knowing the person well and (2) listening well.

Most of the ones on my Christmas list didn’t provide a list of what they wanted the most, I had to guess.  Giving a gift that is smack dab on the money and one that was a surprise is an art.  I literally made a list of people with proposed gifts, mainly to make sure I wouldn’t live, as Archie McDonald put it, “ahead of my means.”

A Christmas I still remember was the year the total of my gifts was about $20.  I don’t remember all the other ones on the list, but I do remember what I gave Granny Hinson.  Although I had a very special relationship with both grandmothers, the one I had with her was the most special.  Every Friday night for at least two years, and maybe as many as three to five years, my Mother took me about 5 pm  to the car lot Uncle B. D. and Abe French ran together, at the corner of South First and Jodie at the five way light, and I hitched a ride out to Granny’s to spend the night.  B. D. lived next door, and he would drop me off with my little burgundy suitcase to spend the night.  Every time I went, I had a standing order of smothered potatoes on Friday night and French toast on Saturday morning.  Looking back on it, we didn’t do anything special; she needed me, and I needed her.

Both my grandmothers, I think, were on what was called Old Age Assistance, and Granny had very little.  I knew she loved me, although she was never saccharine in expressing it. So, for this particular Christmas, I needed to give her a gift that would express how much I loved her.  As I recall, I bought her a white ceramic table lamp with an off-white plastic shade; the base of the lamp was plain white and undecorated.  By today’s standard, as an adult, in the spectrum of what makes a lamp more valuable, this one would probably have been a one.  She had a center table, as I recall, that we put it on, when I gave it to her, and I expended close to one-fourth of my budgeted $20 that year.  She appreciated the gift, probably not so much for the gift itself, but for the spirit of love with which I had given it to her  In fact that year, I’m quite sure I had discovered the magic of Christmas.

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