Back then, he always had something going to pick up candy-cash and sports equipment-cash. He had a newspaper delivery route (and did double duty willingly if another boy was unable to cover his route at times), he shoveled snow in the winter, and he did well with his shoeshine box.
When Christmas came, he absolutely spent on those cousins and on his aunt, uncle, on his mom and even on me.
In those days, we had no car. It was riding the bus or walking, anywhere we went. When it came to the cousins, it was a bus ride.
So we three (his mom, me, and him) would get on an early bus (usually around 7 am or so) and ride, arms and laps loaded with bags of gifts.
You’d think he was a miniature but appropriately well-rounded (the kids in school called him Meatball) Santa when we got to their house and he started handing out the gifts.
It was the highlight of his year. It quickly became our highlight, too.
When we came to this senior mobile home community in 2001, we three were still, for financial reasons, sharing a place. It didn’t take more than a year or so for us to each feel we had found our “forever” home. And we each made our own friends plus some friends in common.
Anyhow, my friend has passed on, and so has my nephew.
But I cannot help wanting to hand out gifts, small as they might be. I give out some to the 4 folks in our Park office, to our newsletter delivery team, and to a few nearby friends.
This morning, I was dropping off little bags at porches here and there in our community – by 7 am. It wasn’t much – a laminated 2017 bookmark calendar, a little bottle of water with a computer-printed label saying “Melted Snowman” and graphics to match, a little plastic baggie with mini-marshmallows saying “Snowball Fight Ammo” and graphics to match, a tiny crochet basket (cupcake liner size) with little candies in it – that type of thing – no biggie.
But I had such a great time –
I truly hope each of you had a pleasant and peaceful Christmas. And that we each hold the joy of this holiday in our hearts all year long.