Author: Betty Kuffel
My greatest gift is Jenna. I must backtrack a little because had I not survived a plane crash I wouldn’t have had the thrill of meeting my granddaughter. I couldn’t have one without the other, so I have two best gifts. But then, I have to add my son and his wife to the list, and my loving husband, my sisters, family and friends. Material things take on little importance when I consider the good fortune and joy in my life come from the people I know.
Having a good start with loving parents and family, then finding Tom, all add to the mix. During difficult times recovering from crash injuries, my friends and family provided amazing support. They even found my wonderful dog lost in the mountains after surviving the crash. She is my constant companion and another treasure.
Years later when diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt like a bolt of lightening struck — a lot like the plane crash. Unable to leave home and isolated because of immune suppression from chemotherapy, one day I answered the door bell. I found the street lined with cars and my front yard filled with people. A dear neighbor had organized a large party of friends from work and the neighborhood to visit me. It was like Christmas carolers in September. Jenna came to visit, too. She brought me strength and had words of encouragement, “Gramma, be brave. I love you.”
This is an easy one for me. It doesn’t have to do with Christmas, but it does have to do with birth, actually two of them. My son and daughter are adopted.
Everyone’s circumstances are different when it comes to becoming a mother. Two women I will never meet – one in America and one in Korea – must have thought long and hard before they gave me what just has to have been the best part of themselves. They added love, exasperation, pride, challenges, learning, fun, sacrifice, and incomparable richness to my life.
I thank those two women and wish them all happiness, of this and every season, with a full and grateful heart.
When I was five, my grandmother gave me her piano (a big, upright monstrosity that took six men to move) on the condition that I learn to play it. I did, and when I left for college, my piano went with me. I helped pay my way through school by being the pianist for a small church, giving piano lessons, and playing for the occasional wedding.
Three years after graduating from college, I moved back to my hometown and bought a small, older house. The piano was too wide to fit through the door, so it had to go back to my parent’s home. For the first time since I was five, I had no piano to play.
Early one afternoon about two months later, my mom showed up at my door and announced that she had bought me a “gift” and it would be delivered shortly. An hour later a moving truck pulled up and three men unloaded a grand piano. As I stood there in shock, my mother explained she’d been hunting me a piano that would fit through the door. Someone had told her that you could take the legs off a grand piano and turn it up on its side to fit through narrow spaces. When she saw an article in the paper about a new grand piano being donated to a large local church, she contacted them about buying their older grand. She’d spent three years of savings to buy me that piano.
The grand took up half my small living room then, and now takes up a good chunk of my den. I bought a small spinet piano about ten years ago and that is the one I play the most. Friends and family have asked why I don’t sell the grand, but I won’t sell it. Family photos of four generations grace the top and every time I look at it, I remember what extraordinary efforts my mother went through so I’d have a piano to play. It’s not really a box of strings and keys, it’s a mother’s love disguised as a grand piano.
Thanks for stopping by, and have a blessed holiday season.
Deborah website: www.deborahepperson.com
by Deborah Epperson
By Ann Minnett
Hands down, the best gift I ever received was a mousetrap built by JD, my three-year-old son. His preschool teacher allowed him to work on his masterpiece all morning long, and when I arrived to pick him up, both JD and Ms. Johnson were triumphant in his accomplishment.
A Sylvester the Cat sticker once adorned the front flap “to scare the mouse” into the box. The hinged door would drop and trap the mice. It could hold a lot of them.
The sticker rubbed off decades ago, but I’ve displayed JD’s mousetrap as an object of art for thirty-five years. It’s my favorite thing.
The Best Gift ever for me was a ping back one. One Christmas I did not know what I would give my daughter-in-law, Karen. Then it dawn on me that she liked to make evergreen centerpieces for her friends, and Karen lives on the flatlands of Montana with no access to cedar, fir, balsam, or blue spruce. I pestered my husband to driving up into our nearby mountains and help cut evergreens for Karen. We packaged a large box full and sent it to her. She called and excitedly claimed it was her best gift ever. Homerun for mother-in-law.
About three years later my granddaughter, Karen’s daughter, decided to have a late November wedding and, of course, they wanted to do a Christmas theme. I was asked to send lots and lots of greenery. Okay. I didn’t want to go into the mountians alone, so pestered my friend, Jo, to go with me. “No way,” she said. “Nope. Nah. Never.” By the time we finished our 18 holes of golf, she had relented.
On the morning we left for the high country, I called her to tell her the time our adventure would begin, and I added, “Be sure and wear bright colors, something orange if you have it, so we won’t get shot by hunters.” Stupid thing to say. After much of her bemoaning and my cajoling, she loaded up and away we went. We cut scads of lovely, fresh, aromtic boughs, just dripping with essence, and I mailed them off. Jo’s gift of going into the cold, high country, during hunting season with me has been a gift I chuckle over and will always remember. Jo is a good sport.
This is one of the 26 center pieces needed for the wedding. They also wanted me to make all the black table runners. Gotta love those flatland women.
Marie F Martin