To the Editor:
Last week my wife and I spent a hectic day in the malls. Everywhere hordes of people were searching determinedly for gifts. Not a good time to check my blood pressure or heart rate.
On the drive back to our peaceful little community, my pulse slowed and I reflected on how my parents celebrated Christmas when I was young. They loved the snow, the social events, the gift giving, the singing and recitations of children in church Christmas Eve. For her Christmas Eve meal, mom always invited a financially successful but virtually friendless couple my sisters and I disliked intensely. In every respect, they were takers, never givers. The woman, at times, made unkind remarks toward mom. Plus, they were committed, unrepentant smokers and the odour of stale tobacco assailed our young nostrils within moments of their arrival. They received a gift but gave nothing. I invariably waited for them to depart, which they did immediately after dessert. Cigarettes and lighters in hand, they scarcely took time to express an obligatory thanks for the meal. Even so, mom and dad experienced a deep joy. At the time, this was totally incomprehensible to me.
Now, after the passing of many years, I understand that by inviting these people into their home our parents bequeathed to us a precious memory of giving without any expectation of return. It’s a memory we still cherish some 40 years later.
Art Martens, Hedley