A sincere thank you to my Grandma

Friday, December 18, 2015

Thursday afternoon's office party marked my 25th year of tearing into Christmas goodies. Over those 25 years I have unwrapped a lot of presents and received many gifts.

Up until recently, I had always said the best gift I ever received was a basketball goal. I got it from my parents on Christmas morning when I was 8, maybe 9 years old. I still have it in my backyard. I would always go out back and pretend to be Michael Jordan making the game-winning shot, much like today's kids pretend to be Stephen Curry.

As I look back, my most cherished gift came a few hours later when we made the trip to Grandma Leona's house. We would always draw names on Thanksgiving and exchange gifts on Christmas. What came after that was the best, though. My Grandma Leona gave all of her grandchildren, (12-15 depending on who showed up) a card with $1 or $2 inside depending on the year. I didn't grow up well off, but at such a young age I always thought it odd she couldn't share a little bit more wealth on Christmas.

Sadly, at the time, I was too young to understand the difficulties she had of raising six children while her husband was sick. Grandma Leona was born poor and died poor, though she did all she could to make a living. She babysat, cleaned houses and planted a garden, all while keeping up with her children. Even at age 83, she put out the biggest garden in her backyard I have ever seen, despite her two sons telling her not to.

In the summer of 2007, she passed away and I never did get a chance to thank her for those Christmas cards.

Yes, I thanked her when she handed out the cards, but it wasn't a sincere Thank You. That is something that has always bothered me, so for those of you who get a basketball goal and go mimic Stephen Curry on Christmas morning, just remember that while those material items are nice, it's the small stuff from your Grandma Leona that you will remember years from now.

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