By Don Eskins The Christmas season is once again upon us and what a special time of the year it is for all of us older folks. Yup, it’s the yuletide season and with it comes two very important things for which seniors can be thankful. First there’s being able to spend quality time with our grandkids and secondly for all those Christmas’ Past. Being able to watch our grandkids growing up underneath a Christmas Tree this year, while reflecting back on all those Christmas’ Past when our own kids did the same, can keep an old heart very warm. I guess most could say being able to reflect back on such a special time in our lives has proven to be one of God’s greatest gifts. While Cavern City seniors must have thousands of favorite Christmas stories just waiting to be told about their grandkids or kids, I’d like to share one of my own. It’s about a five-year-old boy named Sean, my son, who was having a difficult time keeping up with his belongings as the 1980 Christmas season was ushering itself in. The missing coat As a five-year-old boy Sean was probably not much different from other kids his age. Although small he competed, enjoyed going to school and loved playing with his friends. However, at five he developed a trait that began to drive his mother and I up a wall. Sean, as are probably most kids at that age, couldn’t seem to keep up with his belongings. His mother, his sister Angela and I spent a countless number of hours looking for his shoes, book bags, toys, coats and just about everything else imaginable. If it belonged to Sean more than likely we were looking for it. So, it came as no surprise to his mother on that cold day in December when Sean returned home, after another day of playing outside with his best friend Alex, without his coat. And by the way, this wasn’t just any coat. This was a light brown corduroy coat, well insulated with fur around the collar. A coat his mother had spent hours shopping to find for him. A little discipline was obviously in order. But first she wanted to find out just where Sean may have left his coat. With a little luck, she thought, we just might be able to get it back. Solving the mystery After giving the situation a little more thought she sat down, pulled our son over in front of her and asked, “Sean where is your coat?” “I traded it to Alex,” he replied. “What! You traded your coat to Alex,” she exclaimed. “Sean you don’t trade your coat, we got it for you, it’s winter and you need it.” “And just what did you trade it for,” she asked? Sean reached down deep in his pocket and pulled out a small toy Indian. “You traded your coat for a toy Indian,” she said in disbelief. “Sean what are we going to do with you. You have to learn to take better care of your things. ”Obviously, Sean hadn’t developed much of a sense of value yet. Add to that trading away his coat seemed to be a bit disrespectful to his mom who had spent so much time finding it for him, something he didn’t appear to appreciate. So, what to do now? While a spanking wasn’t an option marching him over to Alex’s to retrieve his coat or grounding him was. But before assessing some sort of discipline to our five-year-old, for what he had done, his mother wanted to know just what had possessed him to do such a thing. “Sean, why did you trade your coat to Alex,” she asked? Sean looked up and said, “Because he was cold mom. Alex didn’t have a coat. ”Suddenly our home became very quiet, and after wiping back a few tears, she wrapped her arms around him and gave him a big hug.
Now it was time to go shopping for another coat. Doing so put the finishing touches on a day that had been filled with both frustration and pride. At just five years of age our son had been able to recognize some of life’s greatest inequities. But he didn’t stop there. He wanted to help out, he wanted to make things better for his friend Alex and in the only way he knew how he did. And that, for his mother and I at Christmas time in 1980, was a wonderful and most unexpected gift. Missing coats and much more Sadly, life continues to be filled with inequities, there are still a lot of Alex’s out there today. Our nation’s ongoing pandemic has made it even more so .As a result, too many kids are running around without coats, too many kids are going to bed hungry and too many kids may be waking up on Christmas morning to find no presents under their tree. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little effort we can help to make things better for a lot of kids. And how do wedo that? By donating coats, clothes, food and toys to local Carlsbad charities set up to help address these needs. Let’s all do our part to help the less fortunate, especially the kids, at this very special time of the year. It is what communities do