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Chuck Hinman: Merry Christmas, Mom, from your son, Chuck

Chuck Hinman: IJMA: 030-R: Merry Christmas, Mom, from your son, Chuck
A dollar gift from son to mother in the 1930s becomes a prized possession passed on to good friends: The Tale of the Red Plate. This is a revised version of the 2008 story on CM. The next earlier Chuck Hinman Story: - IJMA 126: When Someone You Love Takes Their Life

By Chuck Hinman

Merry Christmas, Mom, from your son, Chuck

It's kind of early Christmas eve, too early to go to bed, the football game isn't very interesting, and frankly, I am lonesome at this time of year without Connie. I realize I am not the only one for which Christmas can be a very lonesome experience. But it is relatively new for me. You see Connie passed away a few days after Christmas last year.

Bored, I decided to check my E-Mail to see if there was anything exciting in my "IN" box. Understandably, all of my friends must be with their families, at church, opening Christmas gifts, driving around looking at the Christmas lights, or any of a myriad of things for which Christmas is usually a family thing!

Even my IN box looked closed for the holidays. But there was one E-M entitled "Christmas Story" which didn't immediately prick my interest. I was so restless, I don't know what I was looking for! I had an option to "Read" or "Delete" and I didn't feel strongly either way. Something made the decision for me and I started wading through another of those impersonal E-Mails.

It was the story of a poor ten-year old boy who wanted to get his Mom something for Christmas but he only had ten cents. He went into a floral shop as they were closing on Christmas eve. He asked the manager if he had any flowers for ten cents -- just a little dime. The manager seemed to sense an unusual need, and without needing to know the details went to the back part of his shop. In a few minutes he returned with this beautifully arranged bouquet of red roses. He told the boy the bouquet was on special sale and that it was exactly 10 cents. The boy was ecstatic!

I was so caught up emotionally in the story, it brought to mind an experience when I was a ten-year old boy in the depression days of the 1930's. I wanted to get a Christmas present for my Mom. I only had a dollar to spend. We had a Hested dime store so I went in to see what I could find for a Christmas present for Mom that only cost a dollar. I spotted this ruby-red glass serving plate (turned out it was depression glass that over the years has became a collector's item). I had just enough money for it. I was excited because it would be the first gift I had ever given my Mom!

I took it home and secretly wrapped it the best a ten year old boy could. On Christmas morning, Mom didn't have many presents but I was so thrilled that she had a pretty red dish from me -- the first.

Many Christmases have come and gone. I am 81 years old. Isn't it interesting, I pondered in the silence of my lonesome room, that the memory of the details of most Christmases I have experienced with much more expensive gifts have been mostly forgotten. But this one Christmas where the gift was inexpensive by today's standards and more importantly that I was the GIVER -- not the RECEIVER -- has been indelibly imprinted in my memory with good feelings.

I suspect the Lord sent this special E-M story just to bring me comfort and cheer tonight. It would be just like HIM!

You may wonder about the red plate that I gave my Mom as a Christmas present as a ten year old Nebraska farm boy, where it is today (2009).

When Mom passed away in 1973, she left hand-written bequests of special things in her house. Because I had given her the red serving plate, that was to be mine. It had a note attached -- "thanks for everything Chuck" -- Mom. You can't possibly imagine how moved to tears I was to receive that sparkling special plate the night of Mom's death 36 years ago. I was 51 years old.

It (the plate) moved three-hundred miles south to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where it became part of Connie's and my household for close to thirty years. After Connie was overtaken with Alzheimer's Disease, we didn't do much entertaining and this beautiful plate didn't have much use.

We had been members of a home Bible study class for nearly fifty years. It was common practice for the hostess to serve light refreshments at the close of each study. One time in recent years, the teacher and his wife, our special friends Chuck and Fran McCarthy, hosted the luncheon at the close of the study in their lovely home here in Bartlesville. Oklahoma.

Fran had a complete set of the ruby-red depression glass and she honored us all by serving the luncheon using their beautiful dishes and serving pieces. I observed that she did not appear to have the single service plate we had, Mom's Christmas present from me in the depression days on the farm near Liberty, Nebraska.

In the days following the luncheon, I became smitten with the thought of presenting Mom's one piece of depression glass with all its special significance in our family to Fran and Chuck in appreciation of their faithful service as our Bible mentors over the years. They were professionals in the food business -- sharing the Bread of Life.

So, in time, my Christmas present to my dear Mom that special Christmas morning in about 1932 became a part of Fran's and Chuck's considerable collection of ruby-red depression glass where it belonged.

Both Mom, long since passed away, and Connie, deep in the throes of Alzheimer's Disease would have whole-heartedly endorsed my decision.

This brings to an appropriate ending "The Tale (Trail) of The Red Plate," the story of a little boy's (me) Christmas present to his mom in the depression days of the 1930s.

Written on Christmas Eve 2003 by Mom's son, Chuck Hinman. Updated with a revised ending which Chuck sent out on 28 December 2009 as a separate story (024) The Tale of the Red Plate.

This story was posted on 2012-12-09 05:23:15
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