Sunday, November 15, 2015

Two by Two

For the last of the holiday giveaways, I want to include two pairs of books: Mississippi Nights & 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir.

Only two winners this time, but don't worry; for those who comment, you will also win a small prize.

To be entered for the contest, read the small excerpt of 30 Days (a tribute to my Aunt Puddin (Mary Jane McGregory) who died in April 2010. This is a Christmas memory of my mother's that I wish to share. After reading, comment below and tell me a favorite memory of yours.

The Christmas I will Never Forget as told by Betty Sue Tutor (p.109)

"At some point in everybody's life, they get a gift that will last a lifetime--if not the gift, at least the memory. I received such a gift from my older sister, Puddin, when I was about fifteen years old.

Puddin and I fought over her dresses, shirts, skirts, pants, and shorts, but never shoes--I didn't care for shoes. 

I wore her clothes every chance I got, not because I didn't have any of my own, but simply because I could, because they fit, and because it was my way of showing the world that I did it. I finally caught up with her; now I was as big as she was.

There was one item of clothing that I knew she would never rip off of me, and that was a yellow dress. It was a golden yellow dress with a pleat down the front. Even though I didn't like the color yellow, I loved that dress. I liked they way it fit, liked the way it felt, and loved the way it made me feel when I wore it.

And wear it I did, every time it was washed. I would volunteer to iron it. Afterwards, I'd hang it in the closet behind everything else so I could find it first. I'd get up early the next morning, before Puddin did, and I'd put on that dress. She would get mad. She would call me names. She did everything she could to get me to leave her dress alone.

Then one December day I couldn't find the yellow dress. It didn't matter that it was short-sleeved. I would wear it spring, summer, fall or winter if it was clean. I wanted to wear it on the last day of school before Christmas break. I wanted to wear it on Christmas Day, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I even looked in Mama's closet.

I gave up. The last day of school came and went. Then Christmas Eve came, and I still couldn't find that dress. So on Christmas morning, instead of the dress that made me feel so good, I put on regular clothes.

We opened our gifts. We oohed and aahed over our presents and our surprises, over one another's presents and surprises, but there was one present left under the tree.

I wondered why I hadn't seen that rectangular box before, like the day before Christmas when I had shaken or squeezed every gift under the tree to see if I could figure out what they were. My first thought was that if I had known that present was under the tree I could have cut the tape and opened it, and no one would have known. I shrugged and waited for someone to open the present.

Then Puddin picked up the gift, handed it to me, and said, "Merry Christmas". I never figured she would give me a Christmas present unless she drew my name--I was that much of a brat.

Nervously, I unwrapped the box, not knowing what was going on. Was this her way of getting revenge? Was this her way of embarrassing me after all those years? I opened the box with everyone watching.

I looked down and there it was--the yellow dress; the yellow dress I searched the house for; the yellow dress that made me feel so good. I thanked her. I even hugged her neck. I hung it up in the closet and couldn't wait until school started again so I could wear that yellow dress.

She was as surprised as me. She thought I would get mad at her for giving me a "used" gift. I told her no. That was the best Christmas gift she could have given me.

I will always remember that yellow dress. I wore that dress in one of my school pictures. It was never passed down. I didn't outgrow it like the other dresses. I literally wore it out. Even though I haven't kept that dress, I have kept that memory.

It's a memory I've shared with my kids, and now I share with their kids. To Puddin it was a "used gift", but to me it was the best Christmas gift I got that year. To me it was the gift I will never forget."

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