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OT: A Christmas story, no not that one, a different one.

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  • OT: A Christmas story, no not that one, a different one.

    I have had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit for many years now. Not a Christian but I do believe he existed, maybe the worlds first hippie preaching love etc but I don't believe in the supernatural. My family is mostly dead and gone now and what is left doesn't get together much anymore even at this time of year. What I see is a world where Christmas has become all about greed and want instead of people showing kindness and tolerance.

    We have a variety store in our small town, only 3000 people, that is owned by a Korean couple. Very nice people. My wife spends weeks cooking goodies that she sends to friends and the kids/grand kids so I suggested that she should give some to these people because they are nice to our grand kids throughout the year. When we dropped them off, on Christmas eve, the lady all most came to tears, I suppose working in a variety store you are basically invisible to most people and she really appreciated the gesture. For the first time in a long time I actually felt something akin to the Christmas spirit.

    Fortunately when I walked out side and back into reality my heart shriveled up to the size of a walnut and I'm back to normal now.
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

    Southwestern Ontario. Canada

  • #2
    Neat story!
    Stay'n away from religion hasn't hurt me any.
    As for God and "supernatural".... I've lost track of how many times
    I've been in dire st8s and had some total stranger turn up in a nick of time
    with a life preserver........ also other end arround, at least as many times.

    I'm wandering thru life, minding my own bizz, and turn up with a life preserver
    for a stranger &/family that I had no Idea I was heading toward.

    He's there, I have no douts and no fear.

    Comment


    • #3
      Loose Nut, I am a Cristian & feel exactly as you do. The world has turned it into nothing but another way to make money. This year seem worse than ever. My sons are grown & I have a 2 year old granson which I put his wagon together today. Christmas has nothing to do with Christ in todays world at leat the one I see.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Old Hat View Post
        Neat story!

        .... I've lost track of how many times
        I've been in dire st8s and had some total stranger turn up in a nick of time
        with a life preserver........ also other end arround, at least as many times.

        I'm wandering thru life, minding my own bizz, and turn up with a life preserver
        for a stranger &/family that I had no Idea I was heading toward.

        He's there, I have no douts and no fear.
        amen to that, glad to have been able to help out a few folks over the years- but got a lot of help too from strangers...son born with heart defect and 'terminal' lung disease- he outgrew, wife had cancer at 27, started chemo day of boys first/second birthday party... 8 yrs later, newest son was 7 months old, she had a heart attack/double bypass at 35...many times strangers popped up from nowhere, sometimes we were able to reciprocate to help other strangers- its a great feeling, too coincidental to believe there wasnt some divine intervention there.

        I bet that lady wasnt just happy for what a stranger did, but bet she was in the middle of one of lifes rollercoaster struggles and the little gift of someone caring flipped a badly needed switch... sometimes a random act of kindness can be a real lifesaver

        Comment


        • #5
          We don't exchange gifts --- just silly to me, not a one - did not get one - did not give one,,, the only thing I really did for X-mas is get my Mom a card like I do every year...

          also not into the whole religious thing because to me that's also loaded up with a bunch of bull#[email protected]!

          Do a good deed because its a good thing to do,,, does not matter if your an atheist or devote whatever --- although one could argue that the atheists act is the only one that could be considered absolute genuine due to not trying to set themselves up for any rewards later or whatever --- just sayin, and no - no affiliation here cuz im agnostic

          Comment


          • #6
            In addition to my interest in machine shop I also write short stories. The following was submitted for peer review only to other authors and generated some appreciative comments. A true story which took place shortly before Christmas.

            An Unexpected Christmas Present

            I must beg your patience as I tell this story for it cannot be told simply. It is a Christmas story which begins over a half-century ago and through an epiphany I experienced only yesterday, an epiphany which struck me with such clarity, suddenness and power that it brought instant tears to my eyes, has moved me to believe that the story has perhaps finally come full circle to a merciful conclusion.

            I am the youngest of my siblings and when I was little more than an infant my oldest brother was serving in Korea during the Korean War. He had been severely injured in battle but made it back home alive. When I was a child little boys no longer played "cowboys and Indians", as my brother did in his childhood, for in our not so distant past the enemy had been Nazis and Japanese, so naturally we pretended to be army men in our play. Oh how we shot at each other with our toy guns and fell dramatically to our deaths only to be resurrected soon after to continue our bloodless inventions of war and chaos till we were too exhausted to continue. Now, I had it within my grasp to be the envy of my playmates for I had a real war hero for a brother who had actually been shot with a real bullet but I was under strict orders from my mother to never broach the subject of war with my brother. There is something in a mother's words and demeanor, which I'm sure every child has experienced, when the child knows that this particular command is not to be ignored. So throughout my childhood I never once broached the subject of war and my brother's experiences in Korea. I was to learn later that the injuries my brother sustained to his body paled in significance to the injuries he sustained to his psyche and his heart.

            We are not a "drinking" family but one Christmas eve when I was an adult the family was gathered and my sister decided to make highballs and other mixed drinks. My brother and I found ourselves alone in one room sipping on our drinks when to my utter amazement he began to voluntarily tell me of his experiences in the war. Anything I may have imagined of his experiences was dwarfed by the reality. I sat open-mouthed listening to tales which literally gave me goosebumps. But the one story which affected me the most was of the time his unit was surrounded by enemy on Christmas eve night - this very night long ago - when they were pinned down with no avenue of escape.

            "I was thinking of our family back home. I knew you were all together as we are tonight. I also knew you were thinking of me though you had no idea of the danger I was in. I also knew, and with absolute certainty on that Christmas eve night, that I would not live to see Christmas day."

            And so, for the first time in my life I was made aware of the significance of Christmas eve to my brother. Somehow they had managed to escape but he would never escape the memory of that night. Nor would he ever escape the distress that the other memories - stories so harrowing, gut-wrenching and mind-blowing that I would be reluctant to post them here - memories which followed him in his footsteps for the rest of his life. That LOOK ... that familiar look of tension, and anger, of fear and desperation was forever fixed on his face.

            Yesterday I, and several family members visited him at the veteran's nursing facility where he now resides. He is now 84 years old and suffers to a certain extent from dementia. The facility is an exceptionally fine one and every former serviceman and woman is treated with the utmost care and respect. While we were there a local big band performed which was very good. Christmas carols and classic old songs were the main fare.

            My brother had us in stitches as he bounced up an down in his wheelchair, waving his arms madly, and grinning broadly as he imagined himself conducting the band. The LOOK, for the first time in my experience, was gone from his face. Dementia, like a comforting angel, had finally brought him the peace which eluded him all his life. This realization struck me like a thunderbolt. I was seeing my brother and interacting with him for the first time as he would have been had there been no war. Yesterday was an early Christmas present bestowed by Providence, I was given my true brother. It was the greatest Christmas present of my life.

            Comment


            • #7
              DATo,

              Great....very touching story and thank you so much for sharing it.

              If ever we needed a "Like" button here....

              I hope his remaining time is as peaceful and free of the encumbrances of the lifetime of struggles as it was for him yesterday.

              Comment


              • #8
                On our village website I saw a request for an anual donation of just £10 to help the church along. So I started going along to services regularly to contribute as it would be a pity to lose the anchor of our 1400 year old community. Though there are only a dozen regulars it has proved a great launching point to be involved in village activities. The son of the vicar from my childhood turned out to be a major steam fan and now vicar in a nearby parish. One occasional visitor turned out to be an enthusiastic aeromodeller who introduced me to his father - a retired car restorer and ace sheet worker who in turn put me in contact with someone in the next door village who is restoring a 1907 DeDion. I've also met a major worldwide supplier of harpsicord parts and a bunch of other wood and metal working hobbyists.
                You don't actually have to be religious to go to church. So why not give it a go. If you are a bit nervous go to one of the 'bigger' events like carols, remembrance service or harvest festival where you can feel less conspicuous. Also see if there is a 'mens group' which can turn out to be a bit like a 'mens shed' in a community that is to small for a regular mens shed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Good man Loose Nut.
                  I say this to you and to myself... " Now go and do it again"
                  "...do you not think you have enough machines?"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great stories and good deeds everyone. Nice to read/hear in such a messed up world.
                    No, i don't go to church either, haven't for decades, i spend my sundays helping my son and grandson at drag racing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here's how Christmas should be.

                      A Christmas Story
                      Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who
                      squandered their means and then never had enough for the
                      necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his
                      heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I
                      learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving,
                      not from receiving.
                      It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling
                      like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been
                      enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas.
                      We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just
                      figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the
                      Bible.
                      After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in
                      front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old
                      Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest,
                      I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't
                      get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside.
                      I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the
                      chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy
                      wallowing in self-pity.
                      Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there
                      was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up
                      good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only
                      wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me
                      out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.
                      We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything
                      else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.
                      But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet
                      when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my
                      boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a
                      mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house.
                      Something was up, but I didn't know what.
                      Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the
                      house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled.
                      Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short,
                      quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled
                      unless we were going to haul a big load.
                      Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly
                      climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me.
                      I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the
                      house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I
                      followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said.
                      "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job
                      than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but
                      whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with
                      the high sideboards on.
                      After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed
                      and came out with an armload of wood---the wood I'd spent all
                      summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing
                      into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said
                      something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" You been by
                      the
                      Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about
                      two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so
                      before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.
                      Sure, I'd been by, but so what? "Yeah," I said, "Why?" "I
                      rode
                      by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around
                      in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of
                      wood, Matt."
                      That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the
                      woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We
                      loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses
                      would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our
                      loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big
                      ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to
                      put them in the sled and wait.
                      When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right
                      shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.
                      "What's in the little sack?" I asked. "Shoes. They're out of
                      shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his
                      feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the
                      children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas
                      without a little candy."
                      We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence.
                      I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much
                      by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile,
                      though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs
                      that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could
                      use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but
                      I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes
                      and candy?
                      Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer
                      neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern. We came
                      in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood
                      as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and
                      shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a
                      timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son,
                      Matt. Could we come in for a bit?"
                      Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket
                      wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in
                      another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very
                      small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen
                      fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp. "We brought you
                      a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I
                      put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had
                      the shoes in it.
                      She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a
                      time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the
                      children---sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I
                      watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from
                      trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running
                      down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say
                      something, but it wouldn't come out.
                      "We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to
                      me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's
                      get that fire up to size and heat this place up." I wasn't the
                      same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a
                      big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there
                      were tears in my eyes too.
                      In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the
                      fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running
                      down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she
                      couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd
                      never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas
                      many times before, but never when it had made so much difference.
                      I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.
                      I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared.
                      The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy
                      and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't
                      crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us.
                      "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you.
                      The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his
                      angels to spare us."
                      In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears
                      welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those
                      exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could
                      see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man
                      than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all
                      the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many
                      others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.
                      Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left.
                      I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known
                      what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand
                      for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.
                      Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood
                      up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave
                      them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go.
                      I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I
                      still had mine.
                      At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs.
                      wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas
                      dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us
                      can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey
                      for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll
                      be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here,
                      hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest.
                      My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.
                      Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles.
                      I don't have to say, "'May the Lord bless you,' I know for certain
                      that He will."
                      Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I
                      didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned
                      to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma
                      and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all
                      year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have
                      quite enough.
                      Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back
                      came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real
                      excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I
                      started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way
                      I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet
                      wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do.
                      Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those
                      children. I hope you understand."
                      I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again.
                      I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it.
                      Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had
                      given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's
                      face and the radiant smiles of her three children.
                      For the rest of my life, Whenever I saw any of the Jensen's, or
                      split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought
                      back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night.
                      Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given
                      me the best Christmas of my life.

                      ~by Rian B. Anderson~

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Davidhcnc View Post
                        Good man Loose Nut.
                        I say this to you and to myself... " Now go and do it again"
                        Nope, Christmas is over and a happy Ba Humbug to all.
                        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                        Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                        Southwestern Ontario. Canada

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not only was i quarantined but one of my bro's lost his dog of 17 years this X-mas... you can have it. i'll stick with good old trouble free thanksgiving myself... christmas sucks...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That's what I'm on about, taking Christmas back for family, there's where it matters, not Walmart or Tesco, Christmas belongs in homes, not shops
                            Mark

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              flylo,
                              That is so alien today. In a way, it shows how far we've progressed substantively. In other ways, it shows how much we've lost. I'd be happy to have a person I could make a true difference to. It makes me sad. In a way, I miss living amongst utter poverty, as I did in years past. Now the holidays seem a useless contrivance. I only wish I could make a difference other than a check to the helpful agency far, far away. I'm sure it makes a difference, but it doesn't feel as much. IOW, screw this monetary disparity, isolating economy. It's inhumane--for the both of us.

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