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Christmas blessings — a story of the season

Christmas blessings — a story of the season
NANCY PAVLICH Christmas spirit shines bright from the front gate of Pam and Don Rackler’s home near La Vernia Dec. 20.

By Marcus Wilder

It was cold. The street was wet. A blustery wind blew the thin hair of a stooped old man walking uncertainly with a cane.

The old man looked carefully into each lamppost trash can. He reached into one to pull out a folded newspaper. Holding the newspaper securely under his free arm, the old man returned the way he came.

In his tiny, shabby apartment, the old man carefully separated two sheets of newspaper from the rest and spread them on a battered table.

The old man went to his closet and selected a tie, 5 inches wide and spotted with spilled food. He returned to the table to fold the tie carefully. He took two wrinkled ribbons from a drawer.

The old man carefully wrapped the tie in newspaper and bound it with a ribbon. He tied a clumsy bow and set the wrapped tie aside.

From a china cabinet with chipped paint and a cracked glass, the old man took a cracked cup and a chipped saucer. He set these carefully in the center of the remaining sheet of newspaper.

Carefully, with shaking hands, the old man gathered the newspaper around the cup and saucer and tied it with the other ribbon. This bow too was clumsy.

From a side table the old man took a small, framed photograph of a young woman with a 1940s hairstyle. He placed the photograph on the table with the wrapped presents and set the presents carefully before the photograph.

“It’s Christmas, Margaret. It’s time to open our gifts. Shall I open mine first?”

With great care, the old man unwrapped the tie.

“A tie! It’s a beautiful tie. You’ve always had such wonderful taste, Margaret.”

“Shall I open your gift?”

Again with great care, the old man unwrapped the cup and saucer.

“It’s a cup and saucer to match your tea set, Margaret. I knew you would like it.”

The old man sat for a long time looking at the photograph before getting up to clear away the newspaper.

He replaced the ribbons in their drawer. He arranged the gifts carefully before the photograph.

“It was a wonderful Christmas, Margaret.”

This Christmas, carefully count every blessing.

Leave nothing out.

Marcus Wilder is a San Antonio writer and traveler. See his books at .

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