Monday, December 19, 2011

The Junior Mint Christmas

As adults, we all know that there is so much more to Christmas than just receiving presents. We know that the time we spend together and the love those presents represent are far more important. But, we also have to admit that the gifts are really, really great. To celebrate the spirit of love-filled giving, I thought I would spend this week before Christmas sharing stories of Christmas presents. I hope you'll join me each day to celebrate this season of gifts. I hope you'll share stories of your own in the comments. Merry Christmas, friends.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts of all time wasn't even a gift for me. It was a gift for my Mom, given over thirty years ago. To this day, whenever anyone in our family mentions The Junior Mint Christmas, we all smile. Let me tell you about it.

It was 1979 and we were living in the Azores, Portugal. My Dad was in the Army and we found ourselves in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Terceira Island. This was long before the days of email, cable, and cell phones. There was one television station and that signed off the air each night with the national anthem. If you wanted something, you bought what was readily available at the base commissary or PX. There was no internet, no catalogs but Montgomery Ward, and no affordable international shipping. In short, no shopping. In spite of the difficulties, my Dad always managed to do something amazing for my Mom for Christmas.

It was a few weeks before Christmas when a big box appeared under the tree. It was about half the size of today's copy paper boxes and it was labeled to Jackie, love Carl. My Dad told her to feel free to shake, she'd never guess what was inside. She shook it. And, don't you know, that thing rattled. A lot. Like a box of broken china. Dad said, "No. Nothing is broken. It's supposed to sound that way." All Christmas long we took turns shaking and guessing while Dad grinned and his eyes twinkled. I'll never forget Mom's puzzlement, her guesses, her laughter. Or Dad's delight as the guesses got odder and odder as time went on.

Christmas morning came and we all listened with our breath held as Mom gave the box one last shake. I can still see the smile on her face when she finally peeked inside. You would have thought it was a box full of diamonds. Inside was a gross, yes, 12 dozen, boxes of Junior Mints. Dad had talked the commissary officer into ordering Mom's favorite candy for Christmas. Candy she hadn't tasted in years - her perfect Christmas present.

I'm not sure, but I think Mom might have eaten the last Junior Mint the day we left the Azores for good. And, my best gift that Christmas? A lesson in loving, a lesson in creativity and thoughtfulness, and the confidence that comes from knowing your parents are truly in love.

Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad.

The picture above is of Split Rock just off Terceira Island.


Sweet Tea said...

A "Sweet" story, for sure.
Thanks for sharing it!

spread your wings said...

what a sweet sweet story.
Junior Mints are my moms favorite candy too.

Mountain Thyme said...

Beautiful! Happy Christmas to you and yours.

Debby said...

That sotry is so sweet.....really sweet.
It just shows that it isn't the gift but the thought put into it. This year are Christmas wil be simple. That's just how it is. Last night we had Christmas with one of our sons and his family. The little girls opened there small gifts from us and were so excited. They seemed to know that the gifts were chosen just for them and what they like. It was fun to watch them.
I hope you have many more memories like the one you shared.
Happy Holidays.

Suz said...

aaah this explains why you are you
delightful story of coming from good stock....
I remember my brother coming home from vietnam....still do...always will....he woke me up in the morning in uniform....he only lived to be 24 years old....and I thought he was all grown up..Merry Christmas and thanks for the memory

Marilyn said...

what a loving, thoughtful man! Junior Mints are my candy of choice at the movies, no popcorn for me. Love this memory.

Cinner said...

Relyn what a beautiful story. I could just see your Mom shaking the box. It was also interesting to learn more about you. hugs and wishing you the best of Christmas seasons.

Jennifer Richardson said...

mouthwatering story, Relyn
...I can hear the rattle
and feel the love:)
Thanks for the Christmas magic,

Joanna said...

That is such a lovely story. Such a thoughtful gift from your dad.

Happy Christmas, my friend.


Dutchbaby said...

Great gift-giving is understanding the essence of a person. Your father was a genius!

Thank you for this heart-warming story.

Jeanne said...

Such a lovely story indeed.
God bless you and your family at Christmas and may the new year be a great one for us all.
Love Jeanne

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous story! Thank you for sharing it with us. It really is the love behind the presents that is the most important thing. How wonderful of your Dad to show his love for your Mom, and I like that the whole family was puzzled and delighted in the build-up!

Chris said...

LOVE this story!! Reminds me of the most memorable present my dad gave my mom... I think you just inspired me to write a blog post. ;)

susanna said...

That IS a great gift, Relyn. Your dad took the time to think of a gift that would make your mom's day - or in the case of 12 dozen boxes of Junior Mints, her year! Yes, I think any kid who can see that his or her parents are truly in love is lucky. That's the case with my mother- and father-in-law and I think it has given my husband a confident, positive attitude towards marriage. Lucky me!

susanna said...

PS: It sounds like you and your Jeffrey have the same kind of relationship as your parents!

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a happy (and sweet) memory. Your dad was very cleaver.

Merry Christmas,

Amy said...

GASP! I love this Christmas story . . . it warmed my heart and made me smile just reading about it. Thanks for sharing!

Rita said...

I love that story every time I hear it. My brother-in-law has definitely been full of surprises through the years! He has always been so very thoughtful. You, my dear niece are an awful lot like hinm too, for you are just as thoughtful! I love you and wish you a very Merry Christmas. I have so enjoyed all the years that I got to spend Christmas with you guys!

S. Etole said...

What a loving and thoughtful gift. Christmas blessings to you and yours.

Jeanie said...

This is the best. I learned a long time ago that the cost of what is in something is negligible (witness the baby with the wrapping paper). Even the gift can be. But the process of thinking it through, going to great efforts to find it, how it's presented. Really, that's the present!

Oldies, but Goodies