A couple of years ago we were invited to a Christmas party, but this one had a little twist. Instead of bringing a dish or your own adult beverage or anything like that, each party attendee was asked to bring new, unwrapped toys that would later be delivered to a local charity and they in turn would give them to children who would not be getting much for Christmas.
Oh what fun Mr. Pop and I had buying toys. You see we have no children of our own and all of our nieces and nephews are too old for children’s toys. We bought dolls and dolls and kits for boys and lots of stuff. We filled that cart right up to the top. Even when we got home and took all those treasures from their bags we just stood and smiled thinking of what the kids would feel when they received some of this fun.
The night of the party arrived. Feeling a wee bit like old Santa himself, we loaded our car with gifts and headed out. When we got to the home of the hostess we walked in and added our toys to the giant pile that had already formed. It truly was a mountain of happiness and promises. There were tricycles and stuffed animals and just about any kind of toy you can think of. Everyone was smiling with Christmas cheer and just general all around happiness.
After the party we drove home feeling that we had not only had fun at the party but we had contributed to some unknown children’s Christmas. As we rounded the corner just before our drive way we saw something. Our big plastic Snoopy Santa light-up figure was not by our front door as it was supposed to be. It was laying down in the middle of our yard. Mr. Pop pulled into the garage and I flew out of the car to see what had happened to our sweet Snoopy. Sadly I discovered that someone had batted Snoopy around and cracked him all up. He was split in the middle and on his face. I brought him inside and tried my best to sort of pop out the dents and force the cracked parts back into position. Poor Snoopy would never be the same. After I did all I could for him I decided to try plugging him in again to see if he would light up. He did.
I was so hurt and angry. Here we had been out giving presents and toys to kids in need and while we’re doing our good deed, someone had mugged Snoopy.
Being as angry as can be that some jerk enjoyed beating up a plastic Christmas decoration I wrote a letter to our local paper bitching about what had happened. The letter was published and damn it, I felt better for whatever reason.
A couple of days after my letter was published I received a small parcel in the mail. There was no return address on it so I had no idea who or where it was from. I gingerly opened the package and discovered a note along with something wrapped and taped up in bubble wrap. The note began with, “I hope this gets to the lady who wrote the letter that appeared in the paper”. The note went on to say that this person’s mother had recently passed away and as is often the case this person had had to clear out her mother’s house. When going through her mother’s possessions she had come across her mother’s Christmas decorations. In these decorations was a little porcelain Snoopy Christmas ornament. The writer said she was sure that her mother would want me to have it. She remembered the day she and her mother had purchased it.
I carefully unwrapped the little ornament and yes, I sure did cry. There was this little Snoopy wearing a Santa hat and driving a little blue car with a Christmas wreath painted on the front of the car. I knew at that moment I had to thank the person who sent the little gift. Since I had nothing but a first name and no address there was only one thing to do. I had to write another letter to the editor.
My local paper has a rule about letters to the editor. They will only publish one letter per person every thirty days. It had not been near thirty days since my last letter was published. I began my letter by acknowledging that I knew I was asking to break the rules but this was certainly cause for an exception. Then I proceeded with my letter of gratitude. The editor must have been in the spirit of the holidays because my thank-you letter was published the day before Christmas.
The big plastic Snoopy will never be outside again, but he is plugged in, lighted up and smiling and greeting anyone who enters through my front door. He hasn’t been put aside since the night he was mugged. During the rest of the year he sits proudly in our garage. The little Snoopy ornament is never packed away with the other decorations. I keep him out all year to remind myself that somehow, things always seem to balance out. For every jerk in our world who would beat up a plastic Snoopy, there is one sweet person who will share a little porcelain Snoopy. That’s a nice thing to be reminded of all year long.