This beautiful miracle came from Patty Sharkey (who is, incidentally, now a vice president of human resources at a large company):
Christmas Season 1975, I’m ten.
We’re poor…food stamp poor. We live at the Jersey Shore, which is quite cold in the winter, especially back in the 70′s.
The bank foreclosed on our house on Dec. 22, 1975. They were 5 of us. My mother, fiery, but broken by the fall from the upper class to basement level poverty, two older brothers, who battled their hormones and each other, my older sister, the smart one and me.
The next day was Sunday, Dec. 23, and freezing cold by the way. Mass was long as usual, we left right after communion.
“Patty, we need a tree.”
“Three dollars.” She chimed.
We stopped at the Christmas tree stand on Highway 35. There wasn’t much left in terms of trees. The grouchy old man working the stand looked us over. Mom approached.
“No. I don’t have anything for three dollars,” he muttered.
I wandered away….and then I saw it. The most beautiful Christmas ever….it was almost a blue evergreen, a perfectly formed triangle of scented pine and soft fur-like needles. It was standing alone, kinda leaning aways….
“Mom, what about that one?” I pointed and watched my breath float toward the tree. My mother and the man looked at the tree, looked at me, I smiled with anticipation.
“How much for that one?” Mom shivered in the cold.
“Three dollars, ma’m” he muttered again.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, sold! ” She handed him the three dollars as if she was stealing the tree. The men in the yard tied the lovely bundle onto our rusted old Bonneville and off we road. For all who came and saw…all marveled at the most beautiful Christmas tree of all.
In sending me this miracle, Patty said that the memory of this story still makes every Christmas special.
I love this more than I can say – inside people’s hearts there is good even when they don’t want to admit it.
Image found here.