The Unexpected Gift
The Most Perfect Gift
She was a natural beauty. Barely 20 years old, her porcelain skin, her pale green eyes, and her stark contrasting auburn/brown hair was stunning. She caught his eye quickly and all he could think about was her.
They began a relationship in the 1950's style. He came to meet her parents, and learned a great deal about her, and her seven brothers and sisters. He fell in love with her and the entire family.
He was from a much smaller family, the youngest of four children. His mother was a doting woman who did not consider cutting the apron strings on her baby boy, even after he left his high school to join the Army and leave for the Korean war. The things he saw would make any civilized person wretch, but they were experiences he would not easily forget.
Christmas came. Her family was poor, barely making ends meet. She and her family were a Loretta Lynn song personified. They were full of love, though. He was back from Korea, and had money in his pockets: more than a small-town young man could have thought of in a farming community back in the day. He took advantage of his hard earned wealth and bought presents for her family. Everyone got more gifts than they had ever gotten in their lives. The kids were excited to have a Christmas with presents and good food, and so many pies.
He sat back with a big smile on his face. She was sitting beside him, smiling just as much, holding his hand. He was willing to give to her family because he knew that they did not have anything. It was up to him to give her younger brothers and sisters a Christmas to be happy about. He bought them shoes and dresses and toys. He bought the food for the table and a scarf for her mother. Her father was gone, struck down by a drunk driver years before. He did not have any expectation of a gift in return. After all, it's always better to give than to receive. He was a good man.
As the final gifts were given out from under the Christmas tree, there was a single small package, wrapped in white paper with a ribbon. It simply said "Santa". The package was presented to him by a small child with a happy smile. When he opened the package, tears welled up in his eyes as he saw two simple, white, monogrammed handkerchiefs. This was the best gift of all, hand-stitched and from the hearts of a family that had nothing yet found something for this wonderful young soldier who walked into their lives.