Where did the Christmas basket sitting on our front porch come from?
I’d just returned from the bank, where I’d withdrawn just enough cash to get us through the holidays. Life was a struggle, raising two teenagers as a single mom while working two part-time jobs and taking college courses at night. I was exhausted. The light at the end of the tunnel sometimes seemed very dim, indeed.
I looked for a card or a note with the basket, filled to the brim with all sorts of holiday foodstuffs. There was none. Had someone entered my name into a Salvation Army charity? The timing couldn’t have been better. It would go a long way in tiding us over until my next paycheck.
At that very moment I felt a ripple of guilt. Wasn’t there someone else out there who needed it more? Yes, my kids and I were struggling, but my grandparents and Aunt Shirley, who was deaf, relied solely on social security and disability checks, sometimes pooling their resources to get by. At least I could always pick up extra hours at work. And when I finished my degree, things would improve a lot.
My conscience won the debate. I drove to Grandma and Grandpa’s little two-room house, just across the street from Aunt Shirley’s. Grandma opened the door.
“Merry Christmas, Grandma!” I said.
Grandma was thrilled. “Oh thank you, Connie! We’ll be able to have such a nice dinner this Sunday. This will really help us until our checks come. But what about you?”
“We’ll be fine,” I said. After a short visit I excused myself. “I still have lots of chores, so I should head back.”
On the way home, thinking about Grandma’s smile, I knew the basket had gone to the right place. But like Grandma said… what about us? I still worried about how I could afford to make Christmas special for my kids.
Then I saw it in front of my house, in the same spot as before—an identical Christmas basket, every bit as lovely as the first.