Friday, December 21, 2012

Faithful Friday - "A Wonderful Christmas Morning"

A Wonderful Christmas Morning!
(author unknown)

In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone.

The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whoever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night. I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.

I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal. That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-- fully half of what I averaged every night. As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana I wondered? I made a deal with the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys - then hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boy’s pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.

Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll. As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.

Father, I ask you to bless our friends and relatives reading this story right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power or let them be the ones bringing love and joy in someone else’s life. Amen.
Source:  Thoughts About God
Thank you for joining me today for Faithful Friday.  I hope this story blessed you today.  It touched my heart and reminded me of a few things:  God always provides; He never leaves us; He cares about what we're going through; and God uses people to make a difference! :)
If you'd like to participate in Faithful Friday, you can link up with Joy here.  Be sure and stop by and enjoy the other Faithful Friday posts!
I'll be back tomorrow to share a few photos of our very simple outdoor Christmas decor.
Have a great weekend!
♥ Blessings, Tammy ♥  


Trace4J said...

Good Morning My Friend
Thank you for sharing..It was just what I needed.Beautiful!
God is soo very Good.
Warm Woolie Christmas Love to you

LynnMarie said...

Thank you for this loverly reminder. I've been on both sides of this story. I've been the receiver of many blessings and have been blessed to offer such blessings to others. Yes,God uses us to be Hands sometimes. Hve a Blessed Christmas this year.

Karen said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I know most of us have been on the giving and receiving end of Christmas. I believe God has sent His angels to help us more than once!!

Jan said...

Thank you for one of the most beautiful stories. Wouldn't it be wonderful to love one another like in this story all year long, that's what God wants from each of us. Have a bless holiday everyone!!!!!!!!

SweetPepperRose said...

Love the story Tammy. Reminds me of the 1993 movie "A Home of Our Own" with Kathy Bates, one of my favorite actresses. Merry Christmas.

janzi said...

What an inspiring story, one that made my hair stand on end- I really felt so pleased for that hardworking mum, that so many had thought of her and her little ones and given in love.. what a superb thing they did.. and how much that little family gained.. bet they all turned out well, and that mother was proud of all of them.. She showed how not to expect donations, but to get on and find work, and then those lovely people who saw her making those sacrifices and working so hard for her kids, managed to find the love to give freely all the things they needed... so very uplifting and thank you so much for sharing.. it might have happened a long time ago, in a far off american town, but its a story for all the universe! hugs from across the pond, may you and your family have a wonderful and joyful christmas and new year..

Anonymous said...

Hello! I loved reading your little story that turned out to be so BIG! There really are blessings all around us. Thank you for sharing an incredible uplifting time in your life. Makes me a true believer! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Cindi said...

Oh Tammy that was wonderful! Thank you for sharing.
Be blessed,

Blessed Beyond said...

I love this story. I have read it before, but it is sure worth rereading and rereading. YOu are so right, it's a true reminder that God is always there and will always provide. Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Love, and Blessings,