GC Christmas Story: Oranges, Nuts, and Silver Dollars
by Robin Caldwell
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 20, 21 NKJ)
My aunt shared a special story with me about one Christmas of her youth. There were eleven children in her immediate family, three of which died young – the twins and my aunt, Jewel. Money was scarce, but the holidays were long on love and precious memories.
I suppose the blessing of growing up in the Depression-era in the United States is that there were no television commercials or Internet pop-ups advertising the latest toys and electronic entertainment. Consequently, the eight or so remaining children had little to nag my great-grandparents for at Christmastime.
Grandpa James, my great-granddad, worked for a very wealthy family in our community. The family was so wealthy it owned a bank. Grandpa was their messenger-slash-mechanic. My grandmother Irene, his oldest child, wore some of the swankiest party dresses in her day due to the generosity of Grandpa’s employers. Frankly, his children lacked for nothing.
Aunt Jeanne, my grandmother’s sister, told me about the Christmas Eve when Grandma and Grandpa went down to the city market and purchased bushels and bushels of fresh produce and meat for their Christmas dinner. If they were at the market when it was closing, prices would be slashed extremely low because the vendors didn’t want the food to perish over the holiday. With eleven people in the house, that food would hardly go to waste. Grandma cooked enough food to feed her small army and the army of relatives and friends who would stop by the house. After all, it was the Depression, and a hot meal would be appreciated by everyone, especially those who poured their hard-earned money into heating oil and coal.
On this particular Christmas Eve, a big car pulled up in their driveway, and a chauffeur opened the rear door for a distinguished-looking gentleman, a white man, the white man who happened to be Grandpa’s boss. He walked up to the porch carrying nothing but his weight, the chauffeur, however, toted several large bags to the door. They knocked loudly, causing a ruckus inside the huge house. The James children ran to the door, expecting Santa Claus, and perhaps were a tad disappointed that it was Grandpa’s boss instead.
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