Alana Bissonnette: Generosity of others created indelible holiday memory
December 12, 2011
To the Editor:
Reading the recent article about the leap in Grand County families that need assistance this holiday season brought me memories and a call to action.
First, the memories: I was 3 or 4 years old and the youngest of four kids. My mother was a widow, which to me meant that she was married to a man in a picture frame instead of to a man with skin on. He somehow arrived at his place in the picture frame with the benevolent “your father in heaven” designation before I made my appearance in this world. Having a daddy in heaven meant that there wasn’t much money and that we kids shouldn’t ask for things and make Mama sad.
We tried to be good. Mama would drill us kids about not asking for food or drinks when we “visited” and she was especially sharp with reminding my only brother not to stare at the kitchen cupboards during our visits. We never went hungry; we just didn’t have many extras.
Mama had her faith. Returning home from Midnight Mass that year, I remember how we kids excitedly screeched about all the things we would discover from Santa in the morning. Mama did her best to prepare us for the looming disappointment by saying that Santa would bring us each one small thing.
Once home, Mama’s voice changed. “Did you kids leave the lights on?” She left us outside as she entered the house. And then we heard an “Ooooh my God!” in Mama’s happy voice. There was Mama, sobbing, in the middle of decorations and gifts and toys and treats. I found my name on more packages than I could count. Inside each package was a different home sewn outfit for my dolls. My babies had new clothes.
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“See Mama, Santa visited while we were in church,” we said, “don’t cry.” Mama just kept crying and laughing and saying “they shouldn’t have.”
Santa turned out to be our good-hearted neighbors and friends who wanted us to have a special Christmas with extras. Mission Accomplished. I have never forgotten that magical Christmas.
Now, my call to action: I ask you to “Pay It Forward” and be good-hearted neighbors so that certain Grand County families can have a Christmas with extras while I attempt to “Pay It Back” with my assistance to the Grand County organizations mentioned in this article.