Mountain View Medical Supply

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Favorite Christmas Memory, My Grandmother’s Gift

Adapted from Lyn Brooks, Dec 20, 2011, Yahoo Contributor Network

Some of my fondest Christmas memories occurred at the home of my paternal grandparents. Every year the families of my father and his siblings would arrive at their house on Christmas day. I am the fifth of my grandparents 18 grandchildren, so it was always quite a houseful. My grandfather would always get us something like a Hot Wheels Track and Cars, or Tinker Toys, as a Christmas gift. As we grew older it was bicycles, and then dirt bikes, and finally cash. Every year my grandmother gave everyone the same gift, a brand new pair of socks. They were not the cool socks that you see in the mall, woven of multi-colored yarns; these socks were the thick, bulky, ugly, gray woolen ones that itch and make your feet sweat. 

One year when I was a teenager I asked my grandmother, "Why do you bother giving these heavy, ugly socks to everyone, every year, when you have to know they don't want them?”
My grandmother looked at me somewhat sadly and nodded her head and motioned for me to sit down. As we sat under the tree that day my grandmother told me that when she was a young child life was difficult for her and her siblings during The Great Depression. She told me that they were very poor and that they had to walk part of the way to school, even in the snow. "That is one of the reasons why I do not understand why you and your cousins complain about having to ride a bus that comes and takes you to school and back each day." I remember her admonishing me. She then told me that by winter she had often worn holes in the bottom of her shoes. She wore a piece of cardboard in the bottom of her shoes and the snow or rain would work its way through the bottom as she walked. Once she reached the school, she would take it out and lay it flat under her coat to hide it so that she would not be teased while it dried. She told me that she gave her socks to her two younger sisters to wear, so that their feet would not be as cold and wet when they walked. "When I was a little girl", she said to me wistfully, "I would have given anything for a pair of sturdy, warm socks. I don't give socks at Christmas to give each of you a gift, but I give socks to give the little girl that I once was a gift." I remember crying a long time that afternoon after she told me her story. 

After I got married, I brought my husband home for his first Christmas with my family. When he unwrapped her gift and took out the heavy, thermal wool socks he jumped up almost in joy and vigorously hugged my grandmother. "Thank you!" He exclaimed, "I really need these. I like to wear socks like these when I go hunting; they are the only thing that keeps my feet warm, even if my boots get wet." My grandmother smiled and actually allowed a tear or two to escape and roll down her cheeks. She whispered to me "Today, your husband gave me the best gift."

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