Julie and I had been married just 3 years; the second for both of us, and this one was shaping up nicely. I had a good position with the credit department at a Waikiki hotel; she was working for one of the largest grocery store chains. The kids were aware it was Christmas so everyone was on their best behavior.
It was two weeks before Christmas, my wife and I had just attended a small Christmas/Housewarming party for two friends of ours. Times were hard and it was tough for two single women, one with a child, to find a house that would rent to them, let alone be one they could afford.
But our friends had worked hard, saved their money, and had finally managed to find a house not too far from where my wife and I lived with our 3 kids. The oldest was working that night so we had taken the two young ones, aged 5 and 6, to the party where they had spent the day playing with the daughter of our two friends.
On the way home, my wife had turned to me and said,
“They don’t have a Christmas tree or any presents.”
I told her how they had had to spend everything just to get the house rented and they were just grateful for the roof over their head. They told me that was the best Christmas gift they could have gotten. My wife just nodded and said nothing more.
The next day I received a small Christmas bonus from work and felt pretty good. So when I got home I gave it to my wife and “ordered” her to spend it on something she wanted. And only on something she wanted.
Days went by, as they will during the holidays, full of busy things, and I gave our two friends little thought.
Until the Thursday before Christmas. I got home, took our oldest to work, and started dinner for the two young ones. By the time we were finished and I had cleaned up, it occurred to me my wife was a little late. Since she worked in a grocery store and it was the holidays, I figured they had just kept her a little late. I called the store and was very concerned when they told me she had left for home several hours ago. Since it was unlike my wife to be this late, and this was before cell phones, I was really worried. I called our neighbor and asked her to watch our kids while I used the motorcycle to backtrack her usual route. I was just rolling the Harley out of the garage when my wife drove into the yard.
I didn’t know if I was happy or angry. But as she got out of the car I just walked over to hug her. But, before I could she opened the cars rear door, and pointed inside.
There on the back seat was a small decorated Christmas tree and several small but brightly wrapped presents. I guess the look on my face asked all the questions so my wife simply said,
“You told me to spend that money on something I really wanted. Well, I really want Dee and the girl to have a Christmas tree and some presents. There should be a Christmas tree in a new house. And everyone needs at least one present, especially a little girl”.
I really didn’t know what to say. We got the two young ones out of bed and made the short drive to our friend’s new home. I honked as we pulled into the driveway and all three were standing on the second floor lanai when we all got out of the car. My wife and each of the two kids took presents, and me, I got to carry the tree up the stairs and into the living room.
We stayed only a few minutes and then headed on home. As we pulled out of the driveway, our friends and their daughter all stood on the lanai, yelling “Merry Christmas”, and not even trying to hide the tears of joy on their faces. Neither did we.
Our kids are all grown now; our oldest even has children of her own, my grandchildren. And it is my hope, that someday they will all understand the spirit of Christmas by the example my wife gave, that third Christmas, many years ago.