He’s the spirit of Christmas

      If I had a sentence to sum up my brother, Rick, it would be:  He truly is the spirit of Christmas.  This is a young man who takes time throughout the year listening to what people say about their likes, hopes, wants, desires.  He isn’t the type to run into any old store last minute, trying to find a quick gift.  No, he begins a steady quest on the web, at estate sales, many different venues which none of us would think of. 
     He hears stories we all tell of special gifts we had as children, but had lost through the years.  The kind of gifts we held so dear to our hearts during the ups and downs of childhood.
      One year recently,  I was delighted to open a present containing my favorite doll from my youth, Beautiful Chrissie.  She had hair that grew long by the touch of a button, or you could wind her hair back into her head to create a shorter style.  This must sound strange to the young people of today of course, but she had the prettiest, happiest face, and Chrissie had gone everywhere with me once upon a time.  My own dear doll had been gone for many years, but there, in front of me, was that pretty face smiling up at me once again.
     Another time, I squealed with delight to find a favorite game of mine long gone, Voice of the Mummy.  It was an awesome game which had an Egyptian mummy as the main character which spoke cryptic phrases as you climbed the pyramid with your playing pieces.  I remembered hours upon hours with this beloved game, and here it was again!
     I once opened a gift containing that great, young adult game Mystery Date which first gave me the peek into the world of dating.  The pretty girls and handsome young men on the playing board were something I longed to be a part of.  My little girl’s mind had many hopes and dreams to become as charming as they were.   My dear brother found this one at a yard sale, of all places.  I sit back and wonder, how does he do it?  How does he have the luck to find just the perfect gift, especially these collectibles which meant so much to me in my past?
     This year had to be the best though.  We have asked our parents to tell us about special gifts they had as children.  Our mother mentioned a dolly some person got for her one year, since her own parents never had the money to spend on three children.  Our dad said he never got toys either, usually some fruit and nuts in a stocking.  Yet there had been one year, when he was about ten, where his older brother had given him something which stood out.  Something he would remember all his life.
     Dad was a huge Lone Rangers fan.  He would listen to the program on the radio back in the era before television, hearing the amazing adventures of the masked man and his trusty steed.  To a young boy, back in the forties, this was one of the most exciting shows ever.  Dad’s brother was several years older than him, and growing up, they weren’t extremely close.   But one Christmas, Dad opened a gift which he treasured above all others.  It was a Lone Rangers watch.  The picture of the famous hero upon his horse, Silver as the face of the watch.  His older brother must have known how much he loved that program.  This was something Dad could really treasure.  As he grew older, he lost the beloved watch, as we all do when our attentions turn to more grown up things.
     Yesterday, on Christmas morning, we had finished opening our heaping abundance of treasures with everyone feeling content.  My brother reached behind the Christmas tree for a small, rectangular package.  This is also something he does.  Just when you think you have finished opening his piles of kindness, there is always just one more.  This year, Dad was the recipient.
     My son was ready with the camera.  Apparently he was in on it too.  Dad pulled the colorful wrapping from the small gift, opening the box inside carefully.  The look on his face at eighty one years old was priceless.  I choke back tears thinking about it even now.  There, inside the box,  was a Lone Rangers watch.  Not a replica, mind you, but an actual 1940’s version.  My brother had done it again.  Dad couldn’t believe his eyes.  Years melted away as the little boy inside him came to life once again with the most precious Christmas gift he had ever gotten.
     Thank you, Rick, from all our hearts.  You are truly the spirit of Christmas.