Pap, Steve, Tipper, Paul – Christmas 1980 something
Last year was the first Christmas I ever spent without Pap. I thought it would be horrible, but it wasn’t even though we all missed him something fierce. Granny told me this year felt the least like Christmas that it ever had because he was gone. I was quick to remind her it was the second Christmas without him and that we made it just fine last year. She said she guessed I was right but she sure did miss him and knowing her two grandsons wouldn’t be here this year just made it worse.
Of course I have been thinking about Pap. Thinking about the twinkle in his eye as he teased the kids about Santy or talked about what a good bait of food we’d be eating. I’ve also thought about the serious earnest look he would get on his face as he spoke of his faith and the true meaning of Christmas.
The last Christmas we had with him was a good one-so I think about that too. How we were all together, happy, and mostly well.
That year he shared a story with me that I had never heard before, a story about Christmas time when he was a boy living just over the mountain in Pine Log.
Pap said there was a man from church who had a huge pine tree growing on his property. It wasn’t a tree that was native to our area it was one that the man or somebody had planted. The tree produced giant pinecones. You know the kind that looks like a small Christmas tree if you set them up on a table.
One Sunday before Christmas the man announced the pinecones were available for picking up if anyone wanted some for decorating. He went on to say he hoped no one would try to take them all so that there would be enough for everybody to get at least a few.
A couple days later Pap walked over to the tree to see if he could get a pinecone or two for his mother and grandmother. Pap couldn’t find not one pinecone! Someone had gotten them all. Pap said he was puzzled that someone would be so greedy but there wasn’t nothing to be done but forget about the pinecones. As the days passed he discovered he wasn’t the only one disappointed by the disappearing pinecones. More than a few people in the community felt the same way Pap did: someone had gotten greedy.
When the next Sunday rolled around the entire congregation got a pleasant surprise.
Pap said folks were standing around in the church yard before the bell rung for service to start when up rode Lenora (a girl Pap’s age) with a wagon full of pinecones for everyone to share. Turns out Lenora wasn’t being greedy she was being helpful. She thought it would be easier on everyone if she picked up all the pinecones and brought them to church so that’s just what she did.
I’ve had the great pleasure to know Lenora my whole life, only I know her as Big Momma. She is one of my best friends, Tracy’s, grandmother and I promise you she still has the same generous spirit as she did when she was a girl picking up pinecones to share.