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Nuts, fruits and love
You recently ask readers to submit their favorite Christmas memory. Wow, it makes you stop and think about Christmas past and what is important in your life today compared to what one might have thought was so important all those years ago as a child. Since my parents have passed away, I look back at so many things with fond memories.
Things are different now and you know what really matters. My mom stayed home with us kids, five to be exact and our dad worked at the Kentucky Department of Highway. We always looked forward to Christmas, as I am sure every kid did and still does today.
I remember that every year a few weeks before Christmas, our dad would come home from work with oranges, tangerines and nuts that he had picked up at Kelly Bruce’s Grocery. We were thrilled, those were things that we did not have around the house normally, and it was a real treat.
I am sure those were things they did not have the extra money for, but Mom and Dad wanted us to have something special at Christmas time. It seems funny to me that out of all the different gifts I have received over the years that those nuts, oranges and tangerines would give me such a warm comforting feeling around this time of year. My mom passed away in 2005 and my dad passed away in 2007, and every Christmas since since I find myself making a little trip to Kelly Bruce’s Grocery, for those very same things.
The whole time I am there I am thinking about my dad who was there so many years ago and the joy he must have felt buying those things for us. Although I live closer to Wal-Mart, it is just not the same for me. It just brings back a little of the love I know that my dad felt as he was picking up those simple little things that he or my mom wanted us to have. They will never know how special of a memory that is to me. Something so small filled with so much love. Thanks, Mom and Dad for all of the wonderful Christmases, but mostly for showing us the love of Jesus and the love and importance of a family.
Making it on my own
I guess my happiest Christmas was the first Christmas after divorcing an abusive man.
The reason I say this is because in the divorce he took all the money, checkbook and both cars.
My youngest had about a year before she started school, so I lived on child support and food stamps.
My father had left me a mobile home. I had no idea how I could pay lot rent, electric and water. Somehow I managed to make it until my daughter started school in August. By September, I had a job at a good paying factory in Northern Kentucky.
I sat my three children down and told them I could work so they could have more things, but I couldn’t work and do all the work around the house. I gave them a choice: either we could continue the way we were or I would get a job. They all said, “We want you to work and we’ll help you.”
So, I took the job and made a chore list and they all had one chore to do a day and chores would get done that way.
The factory was hard. hot and dirty work, but I did it for my children. Come Christmas time, we put up a tree and decorated it together, which was fun. So, I continued working and I only received $35 child support a week, but I save some money for Christmas by working hard, with no help, really gave my children a better Christmas than they ever had when I was married.
Like most kids, they woke me up saying Santa had come. I got up and told them to wait in the hallway of our mobile home, while I got my camera and went into the living room as they waited anxiously for my signal to come in. When I was set, I told them, “OK, come in.” I wanted to capture their faces.
They came down the hall like a herd of buffalo and in a frenzy started opening their gifts. I felt happy and proud because I had given them this completely on my own. I’ll never forget their smiling faces and the enthusiasm of them opening their presents.
A tear ran down my cheek as I said to myself, “All those who said I couldn’t make it on my own had been proven wrong.” They only made me say, “I’ll show you!” And I did.
I raised my children in that mobile home as a single mom for 15 years and I’m proud of that. There are some memories you never forget and my children’s big Christmas, done by me that year and years to come, is one of those kind of memories.
I hope someone who is like I was—no husband, no car, no money and left only precious children, will strap and their “determination belts” and know if I could do it—so can you. God bless and Merry Christmas.