The true spirit of Christmas
In this Holiday Season, it is well to be reminded of the True Story of Christmas which, at times, seems almost lost in the mad scurry of commercialization. It is, of course, the "Greatest Story Ever Told", and it's good for all of us to hear it over and over, and to ponder it deeply.
There are other stories, both fact and fiction, which this blessed season evokes. I have one I hope you will enjoy. If you have read some earlier "Gray Matters", you may have met two of the main characters. My late friend Janice related this incident the last time she was in Iowa. We were having coffee in the sorely-missed Coffee Shop which was then here on Main Street, when we began reminiscing about the Niemann Jewelry Store which had been in that location so many years ago..
It seems that a few days before Christmas, when she and her sisters were very small, their dad had brought the "three little stair steps", as she called them, into town and dropped them off at Niemann's. Each of the girls was carrying her piggy bank in which she had been hoarding pennies. They planned to pool them to buy a Christmas present for their mother. Mr. Niemann welcomed them as they carefully reached up to empty their precious banks on the high counter. Jan, the eldest, explained their mission. Nodding, he told them to look around and see what they would like to have for their mom. They eyed all of the pretty things on the shelves and in the glass-enclosed display cases.
After a while, they agreed on precisely what they wanted. It was a precious little figurine which they knew their mother would love. They pointed it out and the jeweler brought it down from the shelf and sat it on the counter near where he had been counting the pennies. Close up, it was even more enchanting. Then shyly, hoping against hope that they could afford it, Janice asked the price. With a benevolent smile, just as he counted the last coin, Mr. Niemann announced, "Look at this! You have brought in exactly the right amount of money."
Delighted, they watched as he carefully put the little figurine in a box, wrapped it in colorful paper and tied it with a bow Then the happy trio hurried out with their precious package to find Dad and tell him of their good fortune.
My friend was almost in tears as she finished the story, saying, "Such a dear man! We never gave it a thought at that time, but often in these later years, my sisters and I have remembered our little shopping trip and wondered just how much he did subsidize Mom's Christmas gift, but of course, we will never know."
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you all !