Robert J. Hastings
Positive Inspirational Stories
Positive Featured Inspirational Story - November 25 to December 28, 2006
Older folks tend to astound me with their wit and wisdom, and inspire me with their determination to continue living life to its fullest. As my own Dad ages he never ceases to knock my socks off, and last Christmas he did just that!
The first few years after Motherís death, I made sure Dad did not spend the holiday in his own home for fear he might dwell on years past and find no joy in the season whatsoever.
Then, last year Dad offered up an invitation to once again come home for Christmas. He even promised me it would snow in Kansas! Thatís when I knew how badly he wanted to host the celebration in his own home; we assured him we would be there with jingle bells on. I prepared several dishes that would freeze for traveling, with plans to cook side by side with Dad for the rest of the holiday feast.
On December 22nd, we loaded up the dogs, food items, gifts, and headed north. The temperature dropped considerably the farther north we drove, and I found myself getting excited even though I was apprehensive. I just couldnít fathom Dad opening the door alone upon our arrival.
We rounded the corner of Dadís street and my mouth fell open. Dusk had fallen and I could see new outdoor decorations. As we pulled into the driveway, we were greeted by a herd of twinkling, mechanical reindeer! I could not believe a man 88 years of age would be buying new dťcor, not to mention climbing a ladder to hang lights on the eaves of his house. The deer were whimsical, but I was ready to scold him about ladder climbing - after a recent 'knee replacement.' Mercy!
Actually, I forgot to scold him! No sooner did we enter the house than my mouth fell open again! There stood a beautiful, new 6 foot-tall Christmas tree, with ornaments spaced perfectly. I wondered how many days he had worked at that. Guess he knew if they werenít perfect, Iíd be puttering around with them. 'Gee, Dad, you have a beautiful new tree! But, what was wrong with your other one?' I was baffled.
'Oh, I never did like that other tree and Mom said we didnít need a new one at our ages.' His eyes danced and he continued with details of finding the perfect tree, and getting a bargain to boot.
The dining room table was decked out with fine linen; a task I had assumed would be left for me. I commented on how nice it looked - plus the fact he had already 'dressed the table.'
'Thanks,' he grumbled, 'but didnít you even notice my new candle holders?' Oh no! I had hurt his feelings - I made a record-setting, split-second apology. I still donít know why he needed new ones as there were several sets in the china cabinet.
Everywhere I looked was a new decoration, or and old favorite from years gone by, and Christmas CDís were playing in the background. I was amazed! How did he do all of this, and how long did it take? Even though heís still young at heart, his arthritic back is a source of pure torture. Still, he had somehow managed to create a picture-perfect holiday happening.
We finally hauled our luggage to the guestroom only to discover electric candles in the windows, and a floral Christmas arrangement atop the makeup stand. I giggled aloud and wondered if there might be bright red sheets under the bedspread!
I was almost afraid to check the guest bathroom for fear heíd bought some of that lovely holiday print toilet paper! Whew, just a couple of candles . . . the stores must have been out of the cheerful tissue, or Iím sure heíd have bought some just for kicks.
The desserts displayed in the kitchen reminded me of a Martha Stewart segment on TV. Cookies, cakes, and pies, all made from scratch, and several kinds of homemade candy beckoned from kitchen countertops. He had been cooking up a storm! In addition, Christmas candles, holiday hand towels, and such were scattered here, there, and everywhere.
My head was spun as I gawked around the house. No sooner had I plopped down on the couch to catch my breath, than the dogs began begging to go outside. I opened the backdoor and was nearly blinded by the light - Dad had decorated the deck! It was dazzling with numerous strings of flickering lights draped around the railings. 'Oh my gosh, Dad! Youíve never decorated the back of your house - have you lost your mind, or what?'
Iíve never seen such a smug look on anyoneís face in my entire life. 'Well, I figured the doggies would enjoy it when they went outside.' His eyes sparkled much like the deck lights.
The next day friends and neighbors began dropping by to visit. Without fail, they each asked what I thought of Dadís preparations, and they all reported he had been on a 'mission' to surprise the dickens out of me. It seemed nearly everyone in town knew what heíd been up to. As for surprised? You bet I was!
Just as when I was a child, this now-older Santa had made Christmas as special as possible for his now-older, little girl. Never in my life had I felt Santaís love quite so deeply . . .
Written by Kathleene S. Baker
Kathy resides in Plano, Texas with husband Jerry, and two precious pups, Hank and Samantha. She enjoys writing, needlework, and fishing. As a freelancer, she has contributed to newspapers, anthologies, magazines, online ezines, Chicken Soup for the Soul and writes a weekly column entitled The Heart of Texas.
- Finding a Forever Home
- Grandma's Thimble
- When you thought I wasn't looking
- Left Behind
- Enjoy your nectarine
- The Old Phone . . . How do you spell fix?
- You make a difference
- Lessons from Geese
- The Richest Man in the Valley
- The Making of a Memory
- Why The Elephants Dont Run
- The Sandpiper . . . to bring you joy
- They don't walk in your shoes . . . Click, Click, Click!
- The Happiest Day of My Life
- Courage - Despite the Odds
- You just never know
- Learning to Listen
- If it is meant to be, it will be
- The Learning Tree
- The Red Marbles
- The Weeds of Our Lives
- The Distinct Sound of Purring
- Flowers for the Teacher
- The Red Ribbon
- Santa's Love
- All The Good Things
- Yusuf - He's My Brother
- Extra Good Luck
- Hoo Hoo Fraks
- Stand tall like the Sunflower
- Unique Words of Forgiveness
- I Got Back On My Seat
- Brick Wall
- White Envelopes
- Love and Music in Their Hearts
- Birthday Cards with Secret Codes
- Gift Exchange - lessons about life!
- When the message light doesn't blink
- Tenant Farmers
- I know you by heart
- In Clay Vessels
- Letting Go
- When the nest emptied
- When the birdies came
- Broken Eggs and Shattered Glass
- After the applause, make time for words of praise!
- Are you a bucker filler or a dipper
- Choosing Confidence
- The Stone Soup Story
- A Mother's Job
- Hugging Life
- The Perfect Partnership
- Acknowledging a Special Treat
- A Different Perspective
- Life is meant to be lived
- Treasured Traditions
- Rules for a better way to live
- I Just Get Started
- Memories sustain us on Fatherís Day
- Creating Opportunity
- Forgiving without condoning or forgetting
- Nothing is long or short, hot or cold, good or bad!
- The Power of Discipline
- Sentry of the Homestead
- You deserve an Academy Award!
- All in the Family
- What is your Passion?
- We danced through life
- A choice to make
- Five ingredients of personal growth
- Acres of Diamonds
- If you look like a duck . . .
- The Secret of Happiness
- Harvesting Love
- It's music to your ears
- A Special Brand of Luck
- They are just empty cars
- Thou Art An Eagle
- Encouragement Works
- When you're in the cement mixer
- Plant Annually
- Life and Its Legs
- No Barriers in Life
- Getting Started
- Good Leaders are Good Followers
- How much do you want it to be
- How to improve your vision
- What forgiveness will buy
- Why let that hold you back
- Letting the yeast work its magic
- 9 things that make good employees quit
- The Beginning of Positive Thinking
- Giving Back
- May you be known by your love
- Expand your vision of possibilities
- We are meant for the skies
- Mr Belser died last night
- Are you dead on the job
- What makes us happy
- Motivating Others
- The clock is running so make the most of today
- Calming the muddy waters
- Keeping New Yearís Resolutions - the secret additive
- You are unique
- Web of Love
- Is happiness around the corner
- Seeing Life Through New Eyes
- An enriching action
- The Road to Significance and Success
- The real purpose of your life