I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!
On Christmas day, I truly lived a line in a Christmas song…”Christmas is a feeling in your heart.” Because that’s what this Christmas was for us. No tree, no lights, no decorations, no baking and no friends and family to hug and hold. I’ll share what a “feeling” Christmas was like and tell you about the gifts I was given. I also want to share a funny story my bonus son Eric shared with me.
Why was this a feeling Christmas?
Up until four days before December the 25th, I was suffering from severe anemia (something I’ve never had in my 78 years). The funny thing about the iron deficiency was that it had the exact same symptoms as a previous health problem I shared with you…Graves disease. That issue was well on its way to healing and I was gradually getting my strength back when I began to get the symptoms all over again. My main complaint was that I felt like I weighed about 400 pounds! I couldn’t walk to the end of our 300-foot driveway and back without stopping many times or go up the stairs without stopping halfway and then struggling the other half only to plop in a chair to recover.
I was glad that this new weakness was for a new reason, because my previous problem was getting better and better. I was prescribed five iron infusions to be administered every three days. After three infusions I still felt like I weighed 400 pounds, but by the fifth infusion I began to “lighten up.” On December 24, like magic I felt like me again, but I wasn’t ready to have our family come up.
No gifts were wrapped, no decorations were up, no food was prepared. Our house looked like the Grinch had been here. I suggested we wait until after the winter storms passed and our roads were safe. That would give me time to wrap presents and plan my feast.
During almost the entire month of December I not only had no energy to haul out the holly, but I also had no desire! The best I could do as far as the Christmas Spirit was concerned was to watch Christmas movies and enjoy their decorations, their Christmas wardrobes, food and joy.
With the return of my spirit, we felt it was too late to go get a tree or deck the halls and besides the weather was threating snow and we live on an 800-foot hill. On Christmas day we happily cozied ourselves in our “cabin,” in our basement with a real fire in the fireplace!
It was during that day that I realized that God has given all of us a priceless gift, memory. As we sat alone on Christmas morning, the thought came to me to take turns naming a person (alive or passed) who, when we think of him or her, we smile.
Each person we named came with precious memories and I realized that each happy memory is a God gift. It was like having that person drop by unexpectedly. On Christmas day our home was flooded with friends and family, even though not a single one came to our door. I also realized that while we’re here in this lifetime, we need to keep adding happy memories as well as giving our friends and family happy memories of us.
To those in the prime of life, stay focused on spreading joy. Be kind, especially when it can be difficult. Enjoy your good health, appreciate how good you feel and be thankful for this gift of life we’ve all been given.
Now Eric’s Story
You probably know I have a reputation for giving money as gifts for special occasions and one of my ideas rubbed off on Eric. He has a fulltime assistant who helps him with the maintenance and care of his Airbnb, "Whispering Pines Lodge" on Stratton Mountain in Winhall, Vermont. He wanted to give the man a Christmas bonus and decided to use my Fortune Cookie idea. *
When I’ve given money in a box of fortune cookies, I usually put a bill in just one of the cookies, but Eric went all out and put bills in each one! I didn’t ask him how much he gave the guy, because that’d be rude, but I can guess. Eric is by nature a very generous person and I’m guessing he gave the man $1000, so Ben Franklin went in each cookie.
He wrapped the box and gave it to his helper. He made one mistake; he didn’t insist the guy open the present in front of him. He let him take it home.
Later. Eric told me the man called him to thank him for the money, unfortunately he'd given out some of the cookies, before he opened one and realized there was money in them!
What would you do? You couldn’t go to the people and ask for the money back. You’d have to see yourself as a very generous friend or family member, passing out treats to your people. And those who got a cookie from him will be ever grateful for his generosity!
*Fold a bill of your choice as tiny as possible (about the size of the fortune paper in the fortune cookie). Put a Fortune Cookie in the microwave and shoot it for about 20 seconds. The cookie will soften and open (be careful it’ll be hot). Take out the fortune and replace with the money. Fold the cookie back into its original shape. Stay with the cookie until the guy getting the cookie opens it.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!