Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

A Christmas Tale

ChristmasI cannot think about Christmas and the holidays without thinking of the Christmas Eve’s spent at my grandparents.  The bountiful meals grandmamma Feemster and Russell prepared, the Church pageants, and yes…the multitude of gifts under the trees.  And while I will cherish those times, I often think back to an event which touched my heart and perhaps set in motion actions which led to my career today.

It was the Christmas of 1984 and I was chairman of the Rock Hill Jaycees Christmas Charities event.  We were given a list of 30 or so families a little down on their luck that needed a helping hand.  This wasn’t your Bing Crosby White Christmas.  Rather it was your typical cold, rainy southern winter evening where you’d much rather be indoors watching TV rather than delivering food and toys in the rain.

The family that I was given was several miles out of town.  A fellow Jaycee named  Joe Stinson volunteered to team up with me.  We drove for what seemed forever in the country, down muddy slick roads, until at last we ventured on an old house sitting alone in the dark dreary night.

SteppingJunior Chamber Logo0001 up on the creaking porch, I pulled back the screen door, and knocked on the window pane of the door as Joe began unloading the groceries and toys.  A woman came to the door appearing a little puzzled as to her late night visitors.  I explained we were from the Jaycees and were there to help.  Tears slid down her cheek as she explained she was sure no one was coming and she had told the kids there wasn’t going to be a Christmas this year.  The lady said her husband had left them and it was just her and the children now.

She wiped back the tears as she talked proudly of her little boys as they could be heard in the background tearing through the house.  Eventually, one of the little tikes ran up and threw his arms tightly around his mother’s waist.  “Mama, mama, who is that?,” he asked looking up at Joe and I.  “That’s Santa Clause,” she replied with a bright smile as she rubbed her hand across his head.

The lady thanked and hugged us as we made our way to the door. “God bless you both and Merry Christmas,” she said as she closed the door gently behind us.

 Joe and I drove the long trip back to Rock Hill.  I turned the radio off and we listened to the sounds of the wipers as they scraped along the windshield.  As we neared the city, Joe turned to me and said, “Little brother, we really were…,”  Joe’s voice choked off as he looked the other way staring back out the passenger window.  Joe didn’t need to finish his sentence.  We were.   That night – we really were.

I will always remember the family gatherings, the wide eyed wonder when I surveyed our den after Santa arrived, and the other magical moments that make this time of year so special.  And I will also remember the night we brought an evening of happiness to a mother and her children.  A mother who thought no one remembered. – no one would come.  A night when tears were wiped away, hope and promise filled the air, and we really were.


March 13, 2009 - Posted by | Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) | , , , ,


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