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A Christmas Memory

tomsegel_b1.jpgDecember 14, 2008
After reading Thomas Segal's "Christmas Memory", we are reminded that giving is God's most precious gift to the world, and we are to give "sacrificially" motivated by the love.
A Christmas Memory by Thomas T. Segel 

Harlingen, Texas, December 15, 2008:  Christmas of 1941 was not a happy time for anyone in America.  The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and we were at war.  For two little boys, not old enough to understand the threats and dangers of war, it was adventure as usual as they sat in front of the large family radio every afternoon listening to programs such as Terry and the Pirates, Hop Harrigan, Jack Armstrong All American Boy and their very favorite, The Lone Ranger.

They really didn't understand much of what they were told in mid December, except they would soon be leaving and moving to another state. Their father had just lost his job. The family had almost no money. Their mother was two months away from delivering their sister.  They lived in San Diego, California and news reports said a Japanese submarine had been sighted at the entrance of the bay.  The boys did not mind traveling, but they were very unhappy.  It was almost time for Christmas and that created a much greater concern.  They were deeply worried that Santa Claus would not find them by Christmas Eve.

Their mother and father had decided... they would leave California.  Crammed into the family's two-door Dodge sedan along with most of their meager household goods, they pointed themselves in the direction of Tacoma, Washington where the grand parents resided.  It was nonstop driving until they reached Portland, Oregon.  There, too weary to go any further, the boy's father found a hotel room for the night.

From their second floor room the boys searched the cold dark night.  It was Christmas Eve, but Santa's sleigh was nowhere to be seen.  They were both tucked into bed and went to sleep teary eyed, knowing that on this Christmas, they would be forgotten.

With the light of Christmas morning the smaller of the two boys awoke, his eyes sparkled with what he saw.  He shook his older brother awake and they both yelled to their parents.  There, next to the window was a table.  On it was the smallest Christmas tree they boys had ever seen.  But, under that tree were three packages. Santa Claus HAD been able to find them.  Mother opened her gift first.  It was a very small bottle of her favorite perfume.  The boys tore into their gifts.  The oldest boy discovered his gift was a white leather, two-gun holster complete with twin Lone Ranger six-guns.  The youngest found his brown leather holster had the official six-shooter of Tonto, the Lone Ranger's faithful Indian companion.

Of all the Christmases that have passed in well over a half-century of my life, the memory that one morning still stands out in my mind.  It was on that special Christmas morning I strapped on my white, two-gun holster over my pajamas.  Along with the memory of that wonderful gift is another recollection that is even more important.  I never saw my father wear his cherished gold wristwatch again.
 Thomas D. Segel
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