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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tis The Season For Sharing


My father in law used to tell this story around this time of year....Christmas. In fact, he told it over and over....like plenty of older folks do, they repeat things and stories. And he would always get big tears in his eyes and a catch in his throat when he told it. Last night in Austin, I was around the dinner table with three of my fellow crew members and somehow we got to talking about stories of goodwill, Christmas, helping others, and all of that. So, I shared this story.....and even I had to stop about halfway through because I'm a big old crybaby. The story is a keeper, to say the least. It took place around the mid 1930s.....when my father in law was around ten or so. Ohio, winter time, snow everywhere, cold....in the middle of the depression. Times were super tough for everyone. They still are. Take the time to share, to relate, to give attention to others. Share stories. Share your life, your happy times, your lessons.

Dinner was nearly ready when the coal truck pulled into the driveway with a delivery for heating the house. Dinner was soup on this particular night. While the delivery man was shoveling the coal into the coal chute at the side of the house, my father in law who was only around ten years old noticed a little boy sitting in the front seat of the delivery truck. Waiting. He looked cold. So, my FIL asked his mother if they could invite the little boy and the man into the house for a cup of soup. His mother said "Of Course," and added another cup of water to the soup to make it stretch. The man and his son came into the house and had soup with the family. A cold night, a warm kitchen, a family with the coal delivery man and his small son.

Fast forward to the following spring. A knock at the front door. "Do you remember me?," the man asked when my FIL's mother answered the door. "I was the coal delivery man who was here last winter...you invited me and my young son into your house to have soup with you. I've taken a new job now. I'm painting houses and I'd like to paint your house for free." My FIL's mother didn't understand but the man continued. "You see," he said "On the very day that I delivered your coal and you invited us in, I was at the end of my rope. We were broke and I could not provide for my family any longer. And I thought it was best if I ended my life. I was on my way to take my life on the very day that you invited me in. But I didn't.....because of you and your hospitality."

Tis the season for sharing and giving. Not receiving. Not wanting. Not being greedy. Not even football or food or shopping. But for giving. To others. For absolutely nothing in return. Make sure that those around you feel welcome and that their needs are met. For it is in giving that we receive.

14 comments:

DanNation said...

That made me cry - wonderful

BosGuy said...

Merry Christmas to you.

Kelly said...

dammit... teary eyed here... great story... especially this time of year... hugz to ya both and Merry Christmas!!

Lemuel said...

Now that I can see again (*gentle smile*)... what a wonderful story! I am sure that perhaps some of those whom you have told this story to doubt its truth, but the real truth is that in this universe of ours such things happen more often that "the fortunate ones" might think. At least twice in my own life, we were "up against it". Although I was not to the point of considering suicide, we had nothing. Out of the blue on both occasions, someone appeared at our door and shared with us some food (one time) or a small amount of money (the other time). Somehow, some way, something moved them to do it at those moments. They themselves did not know why. Their small act of generosity was huge in our eyes and kept us going until things got better.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful, moving story.

Birdie said...

What a beautiful story. Thank for sharing it at a time when we most need to hear it.

Wayne said...

Great story Lewis.

Palm Springs Savant said...

Well that was unexpected and very nice story. Blessings to you and your entire family- and inlaw family too.

Ur-spo said...

That is a marvelous story, indeed.
It reminds us me I am constantly doing more and effecting others - far more than will ever realize.

Our minor everyday movements and statements could be everything.

That is the paradox; what seems small is really big.

CJ/Rick said...

That is one sappy story. Now you've made me all teary. I'm gonna go watch my favorite holiday DVD The Homecoming (the Waltons pilot more or less) and cry some more.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Blair said...

Ahhhh, my dad's wonderful radio voice telling that story. You too, my wonderful husband, have told it so well here too. It kind of puts it all in the perfect place doesn't it.

I am so lucky to get to spend yet another wonderful and peaceful season with you. Yep, a perfect place.

We have all that we need in the world and for that I am ever thankful.

Bridge Journey said...

Thank you for sharing this moving story here! So many things have pulled focus from what it is really all about. I really needed to be reminded in a unique way what the season (and this life) is all about.

Ron said...

Your story may be true or not, but whatever, it affected me. Thank you so much for sharing. We need more of this kind of Christmas Spirit and less loneliness and isolation.

Will said...

This story has a kind of New Testament, Biblical feel to it -- not the perverted Bible of those who use the book to advance their agendas of hat and exclusion, but the actual New Testament of Jesus who walked among the poor, the outcast and the despised spreading a philosophy of helping, sharing and valuing one another. From what I understand of the Depression, this story is completely credible.

cb said...

Gosh I hope that story is real. But I don't care if it isn't because it still made me cry