12/27 - Gone? No, just having fun!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Has it really been a week since I did a JOTD issue. Wow, time
flies when you’re having fun.
Ok, some quick updates;
Christmas – A grand time was had by all. I was awake by 5:30AM
(Why can’t I sleep in on non-work days?) I heard an alarm go off
in one of the boys’ rooms at 6:00:01 AM, and 4 boys were jumping
on mom and dad’s bed by 6:00:18 AM. (No joke...) Son #4 was still
a bid dazed by the “Hurry and get up and get out of bed!” When my
sweet wife said, “you can go back to sleep for an hour if you
want...” a dazed sleepy eyed son #4 mumbled, “ok” and started for
the door. His 3 older brothers yelled in unison, “NO! Santa came!”
He woke up pretty quick after that. Then I tortured them for about
20 minutes, feigning sleep and then telling the Christmas story
and why Christ’s life is important to us. They spit out correct
answers pretty quick when they’re in a hurry!
Son #4 health stuff – Bone graft seems to be working fine, at
least from an untrained eye. We’re going in for his 2 week checkup
tomorrow. His Endo tests came back saying he has precocious
puberty. He only has one elevated blood level (of 2 tests), he
shows no physical signs, and his bone age shows where it should
be. We went to a pediatric endocrinologist who wants to start him
on lupron. But, with only 1 out of 4 signs, I’m going to question
weather we need to start right now. Besides, the once a month
shots are $1500 a shot.(gulp)
We’ll certainly eat up our $2000/year out of pocket pretty quick.
Health issues for the rest of us – We all came through the flu bug
with flying colors. All 5 of us boys ended up spewing all over the
place. My sweet wife said she felt like it, but after carrying 4
boys from conception to birth, she said that she was practiced
enough that she could hold it down with the best of ‘em. Ha, you
never knew I married such a talented women, did you!
Jazz Basketball and son #4’s picture in the paper – I sent in the
article from the paper with son #4’s picture on it, to the Jazz
office. I asked if the two players could autograph it and send it
back to us. No word back from them yet.
Christmas cards – We got some really nice Christmas cards from all
over again this year. Thanks to everyone who sent them. You’ll
probably get a card from us early next year (Grin). I also got
several nice emails from several of you. You guys are awesome.
Relatives dying after Christmas dinner – Nothing like that this
year. I was fine dealing with it for most of the holiday season,
right up until after Christmas dinner at my mom’s. I had a hard
time driving home, but, I’m good now.
Did I miss anything?
Enjoy today’s Jokes!
Family touched by simple request
By Sue Powell Morgan
(c) 2006 Deseret News
It was a cold December morning. I snuggled deeper into the
warm blankets, but curiosity drew me to the window. Jack Frost had
been here. Snow was falling gently in little fairy flakes, dancing
merrily this way and that. The branches of the trees glistened
like diamonds, transforming everything into a shimmering
This is definitely a homemade bread and chili day, I thought.
It would also be a good day to do some holiday baking. It's going
to be a good day, I mused to myself. I couldn't have possibly
known or imagined just how good or how special! By the time the
stars twinkled this night, an innocent little visitor would etch
the real meaning of Christmas in our hearts forever.
The day flew by, and the children came in from school. Five-
year-old Jill brought with her a dirty little girl. They came
giggling into the kitchen with red little noses and chins and
peeled off their wet coats.
I remember the first time I saw Susie the previous summer.
Jill and two friends were playing house in the back yard. Their
dolls and buggies and a little table and chairs were their
playhouse. Looking out my kitchen window, I had noticed a ragged,
grimy little girl standing outside the fence wistfully watching.
I was glad when Jill saw her and asked if she wanted to play
with them. Susie's eyes lit up. I'll come right back if I can find
my doll, she'd said. A short time later Susie reappeared at the
fence clutching a filthy one-armed doll.
It seemed awkward for Susie to play make-believe. Jill
thought it was because Susie's doll was so ugly. "Want to play
with my doll?" Jill queried. Susie was suspicious, but she
reluctantly traded. Soon Susie was playing house and having fun
with the other little girls. I hadn't seen her since that day last
summer. Susie watched as I formed the bread dough into
loaves, then she and Jill were off to play. The chili simmered on
the stove, and the aroma of hot bread and apple pie permeated the
Susie reappeared in the kitchen and watched as I took the
bread from the oven and brushed the crusts with melted butter. She
looked so little and frail! "I better take you home, honey, your
mama will be worried about you."
"Mamma's not home yet," she said.
"I bet your daddy will be wondering where you are," I said.
"Daddy doesn't live at our house anymore," she volunteered.
"He lives at the prison." My heart wrenched.
Helping Susie into the shabby little coat, I handed her a
plate of Christmas cookies. Her little shoulders stooped as she
slowly walked to the car. It was dark as I drove the five blocks
and stopped the car to let her out.
No Christmas lights twinkled in the dark window. There was a
light on in the back of the house. I was relieved that someone was
there. Stopping on the icy porch, Susie looked back at me. The
door closed and she was inside.
As the family sat at the dinner table the doorbell rang. I
went to the door and to my surprise there stood Susie. She'd run
all the way back to our house in the cold and darkness.
Standing on the little rug by the fridge, Susie kept her eyes
fixed on her wet little shoes. Nervously she began. "I was just
wondering if you would let me have a loaf of that bread, please?
It's for my mamma! I don't have a Christmas present for her. She'd
just love the way it smells, and I can work for you to pay for
it," she said softly. "I could do dishes or dust and sweep." The
family sat very quiet. "I could wrap it in some paper and hide it
Tears brimmed over the eyes and ran down the pale, cold
little cheeks and onto her ragged coat. It was two weeks before
Christmas! I visualized a little girl giving the best Christmas
present she could dream of to her mother — a loaf of bread,
wrapped in pretty Christmas paper! We were all crying now as the
family gathered around her.
Santa came to Susie's house that Christmas Eve and left Susie
a stocking, with the prettiest doll he had. There were presents
for the family, too. And Christmas dinner with turkey and
dressing, fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy, pies and homemade
Such an innocent request. A loaf of bread, please? will
remain forever in our hearts. And every Christmas our family
remembers little Susie and the meaning of unselfish love a little
visitor brought to our home that cold December night.
Empty pockets lead to full hearts
By Jolene Jones © 2006
Every year at Christmas time, my husband, Russ, relates this
story to our children about him and his father, Milton Jones, so
that the children can know a little about the grandfather they
have never met.
I grew up in McKinleyville, a little town on the Pacific
Coast of northern California. During the late 1960s, my father
owned a small furniture store. At that time, most of the local
business was from the logging industry.
I worked for my dad, hauling furniture into our small truck
for delivery to the local customers. My dad, "Milty" to his
friends and customers, was a short, quiet, gentle man. Day after
day in the store, I would watch him arrange to deliver some much-
needed furniture to families with little money. Dad would arrange
for payments to be made on the furniture and seal the deal with a
handshake. One year, just days before Christmas, I overheard my
mom inform Dad that the shop was behind in its collections.
My mom, Helen, was the polar opposite of my dad. Where he was
short, she was tall; where he was quiet, she was vivacious. She
had enough personality to earn the nickname "Hurricane Helen." She
sternly warned him that he had been too soft-hearted in his
collection efforts, and if the shop were going to survive, he had
to collect the payments due. Knowing that she was right, Dad
reluctantly called out to me, "Rusty, get your coat."
We climbed into the delivery truck. I was shivering in the
frigid, wet December weather. We drove in silence to the first
house. The house was really a small shack that looked utterly
uninviting in the thick, coastal fog. Dad went to the door and
knocked. There was no answer. He opened the door to silence. No
one was home. With a sigh, Dad shoved the door open and moved into
the small front room. We had come to collect a sofa, a kitchen
table, chairs and some children's beds.
It was ice-cold in the room. Dad looked around at the
furniture, then walked quietly over to the kitchen table. On the
table lay a note.
"Milton, I know you have come to collect the furniture. I'm
sorry we couldn't pay the rest of what we owe you. I got sick and
was laid off from the mill. I left the door open for you. I didn't
want my family to be home when you came."
Without a word Dad put the note back on the table. He just
stood there for a few minutes. He walked over to the fridge and
opened it. Nearly empty. He opened a few cupboards. Nearly empty,
as well. He looked at the fireplace, the only method of heating
the home. No wood. He reached into his coat pocket, pulled out
some money, turned to me and said with quiet resolve, "Rusty, go
get some groceries."
"Dad," I argued, "Mom's going to be mad! We need to take the
furniture, not give them money!"
His reply was absolute. "Rusty, these people need this
furniture far more than I need the money."
When I returned to the house, with bags of groceries, I
walked into a warm front room. Dad had chopped wood for the fire.
We put the groceries in the cupboards and fridge and started to
walk out the door when Dad stopped and looked around again. I
watched in silence as he slowly walked back over to the kitchen
table, the very one we had come to collect. He put his hand back
in his pocket and pulled out all the money he had and placed it on
the table. Then, he took off his brand new, expensive wool coat,
which had been an early Christmas present from my mom, and placed
it on the table beside the money.
As we drove back to the shop, the only thing my 16-year-old
brain could think was that my mom was probably going to kill my
dad! Dad not only had left the furniture but had also emptied his
pockets and given them his new wool coat. Knowing what the
reaction of my mom would be, I honestly thought he was either
insane or the bravest man I knew.
When we returned to the shop, we weathered "Hurricane Helen"
just fine. Dad never spoke about the experience or the furniture
again. But I have never forgotten that Christmas trip to collect
what was owed to us. In lieu of collecting, my dad gave. Dad gave
a man his dignity. And to me, he gave the gift of knowing I had a
generous, kind father.
When I had been married for 40 years, I took a look at my wife one
day and said, "Honey, 40 years ago, we had a cheap apartment, a
cheap car, slept on a sofa bed, and watched a 10-inch black and
white TV. But I got to sleep every night with a hot 25-year-old
blonde." "Now, we have a nice house, nice car, a big king-sized
bed, and a plasma screen TV. But I'm sleeping with a 60+ year-old
woman. It seems to me that you're not holding up your side of
things." My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out
and find a hot 25-year-old blonde, and she would make absolutely
sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment,
driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed, and watching a 10-
inch black and white TV.