Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Manger

My wife is a Christmas addict, the 12 step program and the long road to recovery, at least so far has failed.

Experts say to correct any disorder you must first determine the cause. Last year, I accidentally discovered the source of my wife’s life long obsession with all things Christmas.

She is a person with Christmas boxes. Ornaments and lights, Santas and nativities, angels and stars, teddy bears and stockings all reside in boxes during the off season.

One rather large box has been around since our first Christmas together. Over the years the box had become what my grandmother would call “dog eared” meaning the flaps to the box were so worn that they were no longer stiff but floppy like the ears on my Labrador Retrievers.

So last year well into January and with much discussion we agreed to replace the worn out box with a couple of plastic tubs.

It was my task to make the orderly transition, out of the old box and into the new tubs.

Deep Inside, at the very bottom of the old and tattered box, among crumpled old newspapers was a small wad of tissue. So small, that it was almost thrown away.

In a split second of clarity my hand quickly backed away from the trash bag. The paper had just enough weight to cause suspicion. I carefully unwrapped the tissue to reveal a tiny paper box, no larger than an inch wide and two inches across.

A price of 10 Cents was stamped in ink on the top of the box with that symbol of a “C” with a line through it that somehow vanished during the transition of typewriter keyboard to computer keyboard decades ago.

The drawing on the outside of the box, depicted a manger scene complete with 3 lambs and a shepherd, a donkey, a cow, three wise men, Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus with an angel overhead.

Inside a plastic full color replica of the western world’s perception of the birth of Jesus.

The micro sized nativity scene complete with a manger was my wife’s first Christmas decoration purchase and the first hint of a life long love of all things involving her favorite winter holiday.

Her explanation was simple. In elementary school they had a bake and toy sale twice a year. Donated items were laid out on a table for students to peruse all morning, then during the 45 minute lunch break students would buy things that ranged from ten cents to a dollar.

Comic books, and silly putty are things she remembers, in addition to cookies and cup cakes. It seems the manger was a one of a kind. The only one offered and during lunch while boys jostled for airplane models and the girls turned the pages of Nancy Drew story books my wife scored the tiny manger scene for 10 Cents.

Now nearly four decades later it is dwarfed by all that we possess, yet it is indeed one of the most valuable items in the home we share. It is a part of her past, and finding it has allowed me to touch a part of her childhood and in the process to begin to understand her love of all things Christmas.


JAT said...

My grandparents had that very item. They are long since gone. Or maybe not...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cedar Posts for another great Christmas Story.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfull story! Mrs. Cedar is lucky to have someone who cares so much about her.

Merry Christmas