Friday, December 5, 2014
Let's Open Just One by Ginger Simpson
“I think I hear sleigh bells,” my dad said every Christmas even though he was Jewish and didn't believe in the "reason for the season." We'd scurry to our bedrooms and pretend to be fast asleep. Being the oldest of four, I knew Dad was the one who went outside and attempted to make reindeer tracks in the dirt. We didn't have a fireplace, so Santa had to come in through the door. The important thing was that he came.
How my mom and dad managed to give us such joy and the very things we wanted each holiday season when the raft shop where my dad worked at the local air force base paid ninety cents an hour escapes me now that I'm an adult and realize the cost of Christmas. We thought we were in hog heaven when he brought home the canned rations packed as life-saving food for the misfortunates having to use the rafts. They were a special treat to us. Each one had a candy inside, and the crackers weren't bad either. I can't recall a time those special treats didn’t put a permanent smile on my face and joy in my heart.
Although Dad didn't actually celebrate the birth of Christ, he was always the first to shake the presents beneath the tree and search for gifts bearing his name. Although we continually vowed to wait until Christmas morning to open gifts, he was always the culprit behind the “let’s open just one.”
Sure, one package turned into two, and before we knew it, we sat amongst opened boxes and a landslide of wrapping paper, happy with what we'd received, but disappointed that once again we'd failed to wait until morning.
So the tradition continues. Christmas eve is our family time to celebrate, and I'm always urged on by my father’s voice in my head, telling me now from heaven, “just open one. What harm can it do?” Oh, we still have our Christmas dinner on the day of, and as a Christian, I celebrate the birth of Jesus, and I will be forever thankful for the parents he gave me...one Jewish and one Gentile.
We weren't rich in the financial sense, but in love we were millionaires. I’d give anything to have any one of those Christmas Eves over again, and hear my Dad’s sweet voice talking to me for real. He’s been gone for over twenty five years now, but if you're listening Daddy, your “not so” little girl loves you and the legacy of respect and determination we gained from you. I miss you still. You remain my heart, and in your honor, I'll always open 'just one' on Christmas Eve…or maybe we'll open them all.
Hope you have memories that warm your heart.
Happy Holidays from the Simpson Family.