An ‘Electric’ Christmas


As I waited with my seven siblings on the steps of the unfinished basement I could hardly contain my anticipation. I was an eight year old boy, the seventh of eight children born to my parents. My eyes fixed on the doorknob waiting…waiting…waiting for it to turn and open up to the feast of presents that was certain to be there on the other side. It was early Christmas morning of 1964 and what personally awaited me was a lesson I learned that has stayed with me to this day.

The knob finally turned as my angelic Mother opened the door to heaven. We scrambled up the stairs racing for the tree situated at the end of the hardwood living room floor. It really was heaven! The room seemed to light up (in reality my Dad was filming with a set of blinding lights that were so typical of the sixties). As the other kids grabbed their stockings, I went straight to the tree looking for the shape of the prized present I so coveted! I was sure my parents would have placed it in a prominent place under the tree. Yet I couldn’t find it. My young heart skipped a beat as I didn’t see it. Perhaps I had just missed it I thought!

As was customary in my house, my Mom passed out the presents one by one till the giving tree was done! I stared at my gifts. There was plenty there, but I couldn’t imagine the coveted gift of my heart could be in one. I wanted to believe, but nothing seemed to match the size of the gift I knew would lift my entertainment life to new heights.

Beginning at the eldest, we began opening the presents, one by one. As I took my turn it became apparent that I was not going to get what I wanted. I didn’t want to cry and be a baby, but the lump developing in my throat was getting bigger by the moment! As the last of the gifts were opened I couldn’t help myself as I felt tears forming in the corners of my eyes. Just then my Mother made a statement, “Well,” she said, “I think there is one more gift that Santa left in the backroom.” As I turned I saw my father walking down the hall towards us and in his arms was the present I so coveted. I couldn’t hold my tears back because I was so relieved they had bought me what I wanted. It was an electric moment; one I have never forgotten.

But with plastic players that never went were you wanted them to go, to the ‘electric vibrational’ nature of the board, the magic of that game lasted about a week for me. The ‘Electric Football Game’ never lived up to the ‘hype.’ Like most of ‘die to have’ presents, my game ended up at the bottom of my closet gathering dust a short time later. A lesson I have learned so often over the years is that most material things end up on the heap of the throw out memories of our lives.

However, it has been close to sixty years and I can still see my father walking down the hall towards me with that Electric Football game in arms. I remember the look on his face and the delight in my Mom’s voice when she joyously announced there was ‘one more’ gift. My Mom hugged me as my Dad handed me the game. I felt loved! The real gift of ‘love and caring’ given to me by my parents that year is still electrifying my soul and blessing my life. That’s a feeling that has never fallen short of scoring a ‘touchdown’ in the end zone of my heart!

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