The Best Things in Life

Much richer than wealth

By ~ DHOC ~
Published on LatinoLA: December 28, 2004

The Best Things in Life

It?s been quite a year.

While everyone was shopping at malls and rushing to max their credit cards, I was trying to stretch my money as much as possible. My brother fell ill a couple of months ago and had to be hospitalized and for some months now, his family has been struggling to make ends meet.

The beauty of it is, God never left our side. My brother is now home recovering but must take medications and possibly for a lifetime. But as hard as it may seem, all we can do is count our blessings, things could?ve been much worse.

I went out to search for a tree. My sister-in-law had already told my nephews and nieces they wouldn?t be having a tree because Daddy had been ill. Their hearts saddened but happy that Dad was home - agreed to wait til Uncle Sam sent mom that huge well deserved check at the beginning of the next year....

At the point of just driving to our local market to pick a fresh tree for them, I stopped at the flea market (swap meet/trading post for you city folks) to browse for antiques and trinkets that can?t be found anywhere else. When I saw this lady unloading a box.

Inside was an almost new artificial tree with only one of the legs on the stand broken. I looked at it and tried to decide whether they would appreciate a tree they can have for many more years or a fresh tree for this year only.

The lady saw me looking at it and said, make an offer. I looked at her and said, this is your business and you work really hard at it so I think it should be your decision. How much would you ask for it. She smiled and said, if you like it, you can have it for $10.00. Shockingly smiling at the bargain, I didn?t think she?d go so low on the price. For a six foot tree.... I would've offered more and as I handed her more, she refused it and said "God Bless You" I thanked her as I pondered at the fact that that had been the best ten bucks I had ever spent....

I?ve always said God puts people in your path to help you along your journey and how ironic that at that moment that lady was unloading to sell what was on my mind....

Asking her to hold the tree so I could bring the car around.....

I continued to browse through the rows and all the while was a little anxious to get to my brother's house.

We finished browsing and headed home.

First thing I did was take the box off the car and headed across the street to my brother?s house. Opening the door to their home, my sister-in-law smiled and said ?I kinda thought you?d do something like that? I then asked her if she wanted the tree or if she would rather have a fresh one. She said ?actually I like artificial ones better, I don?t have to fight with my allergies for a whole month and I don?t have to clean all those needles that somehow fall all over the place?

We began taking the branches out and fixing them one at a time, she called my nephews and niece out of their rooms and as they turned the hall, they saw the tree and yelled ?A Christmas Tree!? I got a huge lump in my throat and my heart filled with joy when I saw the look on their faces. Who?d know that such a small amount of money would bring someone so much joy.

Being I had gotten such a bargain, I was overjoyed to know that I would be having extra spending money for their gifts. I had already talked it over with my 13 year old daughter and explained to her that Christmas was about giving and putting smiles on people?s faces and that that?s exactly what our Christmas would be like this year.... After all my brother and his family needed us more than ever.

After choosing inexpensive clothes, toys, and little doodads, I wrapped all the gifts and put them under the tree. Only to have the names written in such tiny letters on the bottom with a very lite pencil coating where only I would be able to read to who each gift belonged...

When my nephews visited our house, they saw the gifts and said, "Wow, you all are so lucky, those are a lot of gifts? and I replied, You guys are the lucky ones, most of those gifts are yours. Displaying their approval - hooing and hollering and dancing around, making all sorts of crazy noises and body moves.

A few weeks later....

As God would have it, the evening before Christmas the Rio Grande Valley saw its first sight of sleet. Making all the kids crazy about those small pebble-like falling things. Appreciating them, being they were as close as we would get to snow.......

Running around, grabbing as many pebbles as possible, managing to make several hands full of snowballs they tossed them at each other in flabbergasted delight!

Being a mother hen..... expressing to them in Spanish many times, ?abrochate la chaqueta? no anden corriendo mucho....... Ay ni?os, se van a enfermar! But deep inside, I knew I couldn?t deprive them of the beauty of mother nature and what she provided this season.

My brother stepped out of the house and smiled a warm frail smile - enjoying the kids just as much as everyone. Looking at him, was heavenly. I love my brother so much, I couldn?t even begin to imagine him anywhere else but home.

Glancing at him from time to time, I noticed he was shivering a bit but was trying to stay outside to enjoy the kids as much as possible. I walked inside the house and brought out a small ?San Marcos? blanket and wrapped him in it. Kiddingly hugging him and saying ?I wuvs mine big broder? and saw him manage a smile.

The next morning at daybreak. I woke to a beautiful ?White Christmas? and was completely overjoyed! I immediately called my brother. And, as he answered I yelled ?Happy Birthday Christmas Baby! Have you looked outside?? He sleepily said, yeah, the kids are out there already...

Walking over to my daughter?s room, opening the door I said, Hurry mija, wake up and look outside - The kids are already out there! She jumped out of bed and before I knew it, they were all screaming and throwing snowballs at each other.

The scene was absolutely breathless, I joined the kids - absorbing their joy and the beauty all around me, I took a walk around my neighborhood........ I was in complete awe.

The roof tops, yards, and trees were all covered with snow.... it was just like a dream, yet I was wide awake. Walking further and further, enjoying each and every picturesque scene and what it depicted. Never in my lifetime had I seen our palm trees covered in snow :) The forecaster said the last time this happened was 1894.

Upon returning and after the kids were all done playing, they went home, washed up and got dressed. As we did the same and loaded up the gifts to head to mom?s house where a wonderful breakfast of Chorizo and eggs, refried beans, tamales, tortillas de harina, and te de canela.... con pan dulce awaited us all.... Mmmm, we couldn?t have asked for a better meal.

Tummies full, we headed to the living room and began distributing the gifts. One at a time, they ripped through the packages and joyfully shouted and danced around with glee..... but somehow, you could tell their minds were a little occupied....

Quickly finishing with the gifts, they ran out the door and again, continued to enjoy the beautiful snow, playing frantically before the sun came in and melted the image away.....

You can?t even imagine how wonderful the sight......

At that point I was sure that all thoughts of not getting all that they had wished for were tossed aside...... God had given them a better gift to treasure..... the gift of appreciation - not for material things but the best things in life..... for free...

God works in mysterious ways..... and thanking him in prayer was a small fee for the Christmas miracle he provided.... he most definitely awakened our spirits!

About ~ DHOC ~:
MaryAnn Gonzalez "Die Hard Onda Chicana" is a freelance writer who enjoys the simplicity of life and all that it has to offer as in the beauty of the Christmas miracle of 2004. maryanngonzalez@lycos.com

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