I must admit, I AM A SPOILED GIRL! I’ve almost ALWAYS had everything I needed and just about, darn near, everything I wanted too. It’s disgusting and fantastic all at the same time! I’ve never known what it’s like to have ONE change of clothes, or have to wear shoes too small for my feet (ONLY out of sheer VANITY have I experienced having my toes pinched.) With the exception of occasionally (okay the better part of my 42 years) being on a diet…I’ve been blessed with tasting a cornucopia of colors, flavors and fantastic foods.
For the most part, and I realize it could change any time, I’ve lived during a time of economic prosperity. For example, I’ve ALWAYS been able to buy fruit and eat it whenever my little heart desired. An orange, a basic staple at my house and yet, to Grandpa Waite during the year 1933, it would be the greatest treat a person could have! Here, let me allow Grandpa Waite tell his side of the story:
“Now I lay me down to sleep” were the words I usually started my evening prayers. This particular night was Christmas Eve and I was so looking forward to celebrating Jesus’s birthday the following day by receiving some gifts in remembrance of the greatest gift of all - Jesus’s atoning sacrifice.
Before going to bed, my Mom, Dad and two older brothers, would light the candles on the beautifully decorated Christmas tree that our family had gone into the nearby mountains and cut it down. We would string popcorn onto a thread to make long white strands of garland to encircle around the outer edge of the Christmas tree. We always had a bucket of water at the base of the tree in case the lighted candles would cause a fire.
We carefully hung our well-worn, clean long stockings in the hopes that Santa would remember to fill them with goodies. Early in the morning a thoughtful father made a fire in the pot-belly stove that provided warmth for the entire our three room log home built by early pioneers. One living room, one bedroom and a small kitchen where a cook stove provided the heat.
Upon waking up, my brothers and I were delighted that Santa Clause had not forgotten us. Each boy had a toy with other gifts of clothing that our dear mother had sewed. Though grateful for the little green truck that I had received, I couldn't help but wonder why Santa gave my friend next door a “big” red truck and my truck was so little?
To our delight our stockings were filled with hard candy and nuts and at the toe end of the stocking a large beautiful orange. Oh, what a delicacy…A REAL ORANGE. Very carefully the orange was peeled and each piece slowly consumed tasting every ounce of vitamin C it contained...but wishing I could have one more.
To my great surprise, almost a month later, the boy sitting next to me at lunch had a great big orange to enjoy as his treat after lunch. Needless to say my salivary glands, now on heightened alert, let me know I couldn’t leave without having a piece.
I got bold and decided to go around about way of asking if I could have a piece by saying, “I like oranges.”
His reply…“ I do too, it's SO delicious!”
My boldness continued by saying, “Wow it would be great if I could have a piece.”
I watched as my friend replied, “I can understand why…it’s very good!”
I did not have the audacity to say, “Look Bud, you give me a piece of that orange or I’ll give you a knuckle sandwich!”
Instead I said, “May I have the peelings?”
Looking at me as though I was rather stupid, he agreed to give me the peelings. I decided he didn’t deserve a “thank you.” As I sat there craving that beautiful orange from EVERY cell in my body, I decided when no one was looking, I would carefully slip each torn piece of the orange peeling into my mouth until they were gone…and that’s exactly what I did.”
When Grandpa Waite first related this story to my children at Christmas dinner several years ago, both of my kids sat speechless…completely unable to say anything. Their own Grandpa…reduced to asking someone else for their orange peeling to satisfy the need for vitamin C and a craving that no other food would suffice…my children felt humbled, and aware of the blessings they had been so accustomed to. After pondering for several minutes, my son pushed himself away from the table and went directly to the pantry. Upon returning, he walked directly to his Grandpa and held out in his hand a most perfect orange and said, “Grandpa, I wish I could have been there all those years ago as I would have loved to give this to you! Thank you for your story…I will ALWAYS think of you when I see an orange.” As I watched my children exchange words of love and understanding with their Grandpa, realizing a principle they could have ONLY learned from him…I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Orange you glad it’s Christmas!”
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!
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