Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: A Christmas Story

  1. #1
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    2,943
    Years of Experience
    16
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    134

    Default A Christmas Story

    A Christmas Story from an ex "Damn Utility Locator"

    The Cheesy Cracker

    This was several years ago but it hangs in my memory as if it was only yesterday and to this day, still resides in my mind as one of the most memorable Christmas’s ever.
    I thought it fitting with our economic times to tell this story this year as a reminder, that some of the best Christmas’s don’t revolve around a bunch of gifts, but more around a bunch of memories, and that there are still good people out there when you least expect them.
    And thus our story begins………

    It was the Christmas of 2003
    I was working as an “Underground damage prevention specialist” at the time, or for the non politically correct folk out there, a damn utility locator. You know the ones; they come and spray the lines in your yard whenever you need to dig a hole, indicating where utilities are. It was a very easy job with minimal overhead so I enjoyed it a lot. Plenty of fresh air, and my own hours, for the most part. There was one drawback though. Living in the upper north west, people tend to stop digging around October. This meant that every winter there was a lay off period where you only were called in when there was enough work or an emergency from a pipe burst or something.
    So we went on unemployment and we had to make some sacrifices like working odd cash jobs to try and make ends meet in order to come up with at least a few gifts for Christmas.
    This Christmas in particular was a unique one to say the least. My wife and I of the time were about to get a divorce and living in separate houses. She was living in an apartment, while I lived in the house we bought awaiting someone to knock on my door to tell me to get the **** out because we had defaulted on the house. We’ll save that one for another day. Let’s get to the real story here.
    This year was special. It was my daughters first year of school, real school that is. She was in first grade. No more half days, her own spot to hang her coat up. The only thing missing was riding the bus to school. But then again, we lived across the street from the school so unless there was a field trip there was nothing I could do. When Christmas came closer she would tell us about all the wonderful things her class was planning to do, and she was so excited.

    But unfortunately, she became very sick the last week before Christmas break. She had gotten the flu, and it was bad. When her mother and I told her she wouldn’t be able to go to school that last week and enjoy all the wonderful things she had been telling us, it broke her heart. She cried, and cried. And any father out there knows, when your sweet little girl looks up at you with those beautiful eyes and cries, there is nothing more that will tear your heart to shreds. It was then I decided that I would do anything I could possible to make this Christmas as special as I could for her, even if I couldn’t afford much for gifts.

    The next day, I called the school and left a message for her teacher. Moments later she called me back with her cheerful usual self. I explained to her how my daughter was sick and how disappointed and sad she was that she couldn’t be there to enjoy the festive things, all the other children would be enjoying this time of year. I explained to her an idea I had. I told her I had a video camera and wanted to come to her class the last day before the Christmas break to video tape all the fun things they had planned and share it with my daughter so she wouldn’t feel left out. She agreed and said that would be wonderful, and told me to arrive at the school, camera in hand around 8:00am.
    I was excited, I didn’t tell anyone what my plans were, but inside I was living through her, excited, nervous, and cheerful. Like a small child the day before Christmas, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Soon enough the day arrived and I sprang out of bed giddy as ever. I got the oldest up and ready for school and got my youngest as ready as she could be to go to Grandmas for the day. I used the excuse that I had to work that day even though I had nothing on my plate, and knew that her Grandmother would keep a close eye on her while she was sick.
    I packed up all my gear, my camera, my tripod, and my still camera and headed over to the school. Upon walking into the class room, I realized I was not prepared for what the teacher had done.
    On the giant white erase board was a huge message to my daughter. “Merry Christmas, and get well soon.”
    This was almost enough to break me down into tears, but I kept it together and setup my equipment.
    The teacher came up to me and greeted herself and introduced me to the class. She then proceeded to tell me that the things they originally had planned for today had changed to accommodate my daughter’s condition. I fiddled with my equipment during this whole time, and got everything up and running, making sure with a few tests that all equipment was in order. I was still so excited, and seeing the message on the board only made everything seem so much more worthwhile. Her teacher returned to me once more, now having all the children gathered in a nice unique circle, to ask me if I was ready. With one last check, I gave her thumbs up and a grin ear to ear and acknowledged an affirmative yes.
    She then turned to the rest of her students, all of them sitting so preciously, in their Sunday best for the last day before Christmas break, and announced,
    “OK kids; let’s show his daughter what we did.”
    With my camera pointed at them, a single student stood up and presented me with a very large piece of construction paper, folded in the form of a card. On it, it read, “Get well soon” with my daughter’s name, and on the inside, every student had signed it and left a special little message for my daughter.
    They may have been very little people, with very big hearts, but at that moment all I wanted to do was hug each and every one of them with my daughter’s arms.
    I had no idea when I thought of this that it would turn out to be so emotional and special for me. I kind of felt bad, I was doing this for my sick daughter, and here I was enjoying possibly the most memorable and best Christmas I have ever had.
    She then told the children to present me with the gifts they had made for my daughter. One by one they all walked up with cards made from construction paper. I held the camera steady on each child as they came up and gave me their special card or picture with a special message written on each, along with them telling my daughter to get well and merry Christmas into the camera.
    When all of them were done, I began to pack up my equipment, eyes full of tears. It was the most precious thing anyone could witness on such a sad Christmas week. It was at this point the teacher walked up to me and asked me to wait.
    “Please, I have one more thing that I would like to give to your daughter that we had planned that I am sure she would love.”
    “OK” I responded
    Not knowing what she was about to do, I focused the camera on the circle of children now gathering around the center of the class room. In the center was a single chair. The teacher grabbed a book, and proceeded to enter the circle of precious children and sit on the chair. She then looked at the camera and said, “Now, we will read, the night before Christmas”.
    This is probably a book and story she has read countless times to countless children before this class, and many of times I myself had heard. But no matter how many times I have heard it before, it never has meant so much to me as it did that day, nor have I really understood the real meaning of it until I heard her read it that day, and watch all those children’s faces focus on her every move, breathless, and motionless, they sat there listening. I soon realized I was doing the same, and I had to take a step back and ask myself just what Christmas was all about. This story I have heard so many times before, and meant nothing more than another Christmas story now meant so much more to me. It wasn’t about gifts that get tossed aside and collect dust and forgotten about. The true Christmas spirit is giving and the memories you take from them and the memories the people you give it to hold and cherish forever.

    I filmed and watched as she told the story, intent and vigilant on ever word she spoke. When it was all done, I wiped my face of any tears and packed up my gear, making sure to thank every child in the classroom for making that day so special. I don’t know if any of them will remember that day, and if I could I would share my video with them to show them, but it doesn’t matter, from that day on, Christmas meant more to me than any gift you could receive.
    This brought me to the next stage of my plan.
    I promised my daughter one more thing that special Christmas, and that was to see Santa. The nearest mall that would house a worthy Santa was just over an hour away. I checked my watch and it was 9:30am. To get to my destination on time would take over an hour. I had nothing else planned so I gathered up my gear, jumped into my truck and headed for the mall.
    I arrived around 10:30am and the line was, well, to say the least, long. I was probably 250th in a line of over 300, standing, waiting to see Santa. The only difference was I was the only one in line alone with a video camera. But it didn’t matter, I was on a mission. I needed to get a message from Santa to my sick daughter on tape so she doesn’t feel I forgot about the promise I made her. And I know any father out there would feel the same.
    So there I stood, waiting, inching forward with every passing minute. Finally I was within the “rope” line, which put me about 50 people in touch of Santa. And then it came.
    “Sorry Folks, but Santa has to go get a bite to eat for lunch”
    It was now 12:30, and I watched after the announcement as parents and kids started to leave the line. There was one problem, anyone within the velvet rope line, made no move. They didn’t flinch, they didn’t walk. Nope, they stayed in their position holding it strong like a warrior at the battle of the gates, knowing if they left, they would not only lose their place in line but also disappoint whatever little hand was attached to their side.
    I stood there watching everyone still in line, and it was funny. The parents who held their values about Christmas really stood their ground, in order to give their kids that same experience they had when they were a child. Again, I was reminded of so many different things of the “Christmas Spirit”. In front of me was a young couple very well dressed. It was a father, mother, and two young boys around the age of 6 and 10.
    My arm still dangling with my camcorder in hand, my brow sweating from over dressing and now standing in a line of 50 other people in a warm mall, I stood there with the rest of the parents awaiting Santa’s arrival from lunch.
    The couple in front of me whispered back and forth, occasionally glancing a stare my way.
    After waiting in line for an hour, (Santa was not to return until 1:30pm) my legs tired, and my stomach starting to feel the ramifications of not eating all day, the father in front of me turned to face me.
    “Excuse me, and forgive me for being blunt, but we couldn’t help but notice you are the only one in line without a child and the only one holding a video camera……….that’s kind of creepy.”
    I laughed and chuckled understanding their point of view, and proceeded to tell them my situation.
    “You see, my daughter is sick, and I promised to take her to see Santa this year, and since I couldn’t, I figured I would just record a very special message from Santa to her this year and hopefully it would cheer her up.”
    “Oh, well that makes so much sense” he responded.
    It was at that time he told me that he was a Doctor, while his wife was a nurse. He and his wife drilled me with questions, which I thought was sweet, that someone would care so much.
    “What’s her temp” he asked, followed by…
    “How old is she?”….. she asked
    “Is she on any medication?” he asked….
    I continued to answer their questions and thanked them for their concern, because seriously, I was worried. Flu, or not, what she had was serious and it wasn’t going away, nor was it behaving like a normal flu.
    They assured me that the symptoms I described and her condition, that they have been seeing it a lot lately, and to just monitor her temp and keep a close eye on her, and she will be fine.
    I said thank you, to them, and once again we were back to where we were before our conversation, standing in line, awaiting the arrival of Santa from lunch.
    It was at this time that the young couple in front of me’s father said to his wife…
    “Well, I think I should take the boys shopping for you, they are getting a little antsy.”
    “OK, but be sure to be back in time for Santa.” She explained, and with a quick nod, he and the boys were off walking down the mall enjoying the many sceneries of the Christmas Holiday.
    I stood there for another 20 minutes awaiting the announcement of Santa, but it never came. Checking my watch I wondered if it ever would.
    The young couple in front of me returned to her wife. They spoke softly, which was fine, it was none of my business.
    After a few moments, the two little boys turned to me with arms wide open and gifts in each of their arms wrapped up preciously. I had a puzzled look upon my face and looked up to face the father.
    “What is this?” I asked
    “Well….” He explained
    “No one should go through Christmas like your daughter is, or without gifts and thinking that Santa doesn’t exist. So from our family to yours, we would really appreciate it if you took these few gifts that we wrapped and give them to her, and tell her that Santa gave them to her”
    I’m not going to lie; at this point I broke down and started to weep. Looking down at those two little boys holding up these gifts that I had no idea what they were, and their parents looking over me with a smile, wanting nothing more than the pleasure of my daughter to enjoy Christmas, it really tore at my heart.
    They turned away, and went about their business of waiting for Santa, who had now recently arrived from his lunch break. Slowly the line moved forward, one by one each person getting their chance to talk to Santa.
    Finally, my chance arrived and there I stood. Right in front of the bearded white man with all the control of all the good little boys’ and girls of the world in his hands. I know he’s not real, and yet for some reason I still felt intimidated.
    “Hi Santa…” I announced
    “Well helol there young man……”
    I told him about my daughter and why I was there alone. He nodded with a jolly smile on his face and said…
    “It would be my pleasure; you just point that camera at me and let me do the rest….”
    To my surprise I was nervous and was fumbling the camcorder almost not getting it turned on in time before he began to speak.
    But eventually I had it working, and Santa delivered the perfect message.
    “Hello there little girl, I understand you are sick. Well Santa is wishing you to get better so you can enjoy this Christmas like you should and I and my elves are wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”
    WOW
    That was awesome and I got it all on tape is all I could think of.
    I walked away from that mall with a huge smile on my face, and yet I felt a little sad. Here I walked, camcorder in hand, with gifts from a stranger to my sick daughter who they don’t know and never met, and I had nothing to give back to all these other children in line that probably deserved so much more. All I could do was hope that the gift I was creating for my daughter would give back in some way what so many different people had given to me that day.
    I walked out to my truck and returned home with one thing on my mind. To edit this video and make it perfect for my daughter.
    Upon my return to home I hooked up the camcorder to my computer and proceeded to go through every second of it. Watching the entire day’s events, and reliving the memories once again brought tears to my eyes and made me realize how special this was going to be. In the end I made sure to deliver my daughter a special message from myself explaining that she was so sick this Christmas and she probably wouldn’t remember much, and I hoped that by having this video, she could watch it over and over again as a reminder of just how special that Christmas was.
    I could hardly contain my excitement, but had to remind myself I still had a very sick child on my hands, and my first priority was to make sure she was ok.
    I made the tape (yes I had a tape recording camcorder) and wrapped it up, placed it under the tree with the rest of the few gifts I worked to purchase and waited for Christmas day to arrive.
    The day came, and before I knew it my house was filled with family members.
    I watched and snapped pictures as everyone opened their gifts. When it came to my daughter, snuggled up in the love seat, with a blanket draped upon her body, and her eyes closed because she didn’t have enough strength to stay awake and open her gifts, we helped her along and took pictures.
    No one new at this time of the video, and I waited until all gifts were open to bring it out and lay it on my daughters lap. Again I felt a bit guilty, here were all these people giving out hard earned gifts and all I had was this simple VHS tape.
    “Sweetie, here, this is a special gift from Daddy to you. I hope you like it.”
    She raised her head as far as she could, opened her eyes and tore open the wrapping paper. She had a blank stare on her face not knowing exactly what she had just opened. I told her it was a video I created for her, to show her she was not forgotten this Christmas. With that, I gently took it from her hands and walked over to the TV to play the video.
    Intently everyone gathered around the TV as I pushed the tape into the player.
    With a push of a few buttons, the VCR whirled and whizzed to life with the familiar sounds of an old dying technology.
    From that point until the end, not a single person spoke a word or moved an inch. I wasn’t expecting this; all I wanted was to show my daughter that she was still important and could still be there.
    She couldn’t stay awake for the video and I don’t blame her. She was so sick, and I felt so bad for her. When it was all said and done I’m not sure a single person even breathed through the short 25 minute film I created, but I will tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire room.
    Again, I wasn’t expecting that, nor was I trying to make everyone feel like “Oh My GoD”, but that’s the way it turned out.
    All I wanted was for my daughter to have a memorable Christmas.
    I separated from her mother shortly after. I don’t know if she has seen the video since, but I hope in my heart that she has and looks at it every Christmas and thinks a little different about what Christmas means.

    I never got the names of the people who generously gave those gifts to my sick daughter that year, nor did I ask. They wanted to remain anonymous, and I respect that, and I also some day want to give back in the same fashion. But if for some reason, they cross this post and read it, I just want to say thank you, thank you for showing me what Christmas really means, and how good people really can be. It doesn’t matter what I did that day, your simple gesture flipped my world, and my meaning of Christmas upside down.

    Maybe you could do the same. Maybe you don’t believe in the toy drives, well, that’s fine. Then maybe you could walk up to that one guy, lonely and sad, waiting in line, and hand them a gift, and change their world like someone did to me.
    Merry Christmas, and remember, it’s not always about the gifts that gather dust and are quickly forgotten, but more about the precious memories we can pass on to our loved ones.

    Forever and ever my precious daughter, I think of you every day, and I love you so very much! Merry Christmas my sweet angel!
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  2. #2
    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Md. Va. Wv.
    Posts
    1,802
    Years of Experience
    na
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: A Christmas Story

    Maybe I missed the point here???

    So much to read so skipped to the bottom and caught this part that made alot of sense where Im at-


    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post

    Then maybe you could walk up to that one guy, lonely and sad, waiting in line, and hand them a gift, and change their world like someone did to me.
    I was trying to make my presence known at Wallys during the whole run-up to Xmas, as that sad lonely guy, waiting in line, (always a good stategy) hoping on "a gift", and the best I ve managed is the Murphys gas girl being mighty friendly ...

    Something to work on going into the new year...

  3. #3
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    Posts
    1,808
    Years of Experience
    20
    Blog Entries
    1
    Rep Power
    93

    Default Re: A Christmas Story

    Great post Steve, thanks for getting it up here.
    There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Mental Illness."
    "America isn't free, in America you are free to follow the rules." -Anthony Cumia


  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    5
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: A Christmas Story

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. #5
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    2,943
    Years of Experience
    16
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    134

    Default Re: A Christmas Story

    Quote Originally Posted by USIC1 View Post
    Maybe I missed the point here???

    So much to read so skipped to the bottom and caught this part that made alot of sense where Im at-




    I was trying to make my presence known at Wallys during the whole run-up to Xmas, as that sad lonely guy, waiting in line, (always a good stategy) hoping on "a gift", and the best I ve managed is the Murphys gas girl being mighty friendly ...

    Something to work on going into the new year...
    Maybe you are being cynical. I hope so. But, if you truly see no point then there is no explaining it.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  6. #6
    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Md. Va. Wv.
    Posts
    1,802
    Years of Experience
    na
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: A Christmas Story

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    Maybe you are being cynical. I hope so. But, if you truly see no point then there is no explaining it.
    Yeah I guess more like a humorous twist as a deflection to many depressing realities of the times...

    Just trying to keep the Tiny Tim scenario bombardment off the radar for the welfare of the mental well being...

    Sort of like avoiding surfing the craigslists of last chance animal adoption ads with pictures and death sentences attached by the shelters...

  7. #7
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    3,912
    Years of Experience
    15
    Rep Power
    167

    Default Re: A Christmas Story

    this story was very good.all is well ends well!!!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  8. #8
    Senior Member gypsygirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    517
    Rep Power
    26

    Default Re: A Christmas Story

    Wonderful post Steve!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •