By Davon Cook
I’ve been blessed with a loving family and many wonderful Christmas gifts over the years. One gift from my childhood is particularly vivid.
When I was about seven, Santa brought my two older siblings and me a trampoline. That was certainly exciting, but the manner in which it appeared was even more special. Before Christmas, my whole family went on our customary 2-3 day visit to both sets of grandparents far away. When we arrived home, the trampoline was magically THERE—set up in our yard and ready to go! As a child, I was amazed that Santa was just that good. As a wise teenager, I assumed our farm employee did it while we were gone. It was only as an adult that I learned the true story.
Now, let’s put our Christmas trip into context. My parents operated a cotton gin that shut down for only 48 hours at Christmas. We would make a 700-mile round trip to visit both sets of grandparents and extended families in 48-72 hours. Take that in. Twelve plus hours of driving time, a small amount of sleep (for the adults anyway), and precious time for kids to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins—at two locations. And, we ate a few good meals in there somewhere! Plus, my parents went to the effort to bring a significant number of well-hidden presents along also!
So, back to the trampoline. That year, we must have had a little extra time on our trip because we
stopped on the way home to see some friends about 45 miles from our house. It turns out, while the dads were gone “looking at crops” (which isn’t unusual in any farm kid’s world), they hightailed it to our house, set up the trampoline, and returned from their 90-mile round trip in time to be believable.
In retrospect, two things stand out to me from this story. Not only was the trampoline and the effort
involved in it magical, but now as a mother myself, I am stunned by my parents’ energy to prioritize that annual Christmas trip. They were slogging through harvest months of very long hours at a gin that runs 24 hours. I’m sure the last thing they wanted to do on their precious days off was to drive for many hours lugging around hyper kids, sleeping on sofas in crowded houses, and cooking a lot (well, Mom anyway). That was the gift--parents doing whatever it takes to give the kids and the grandparents a special Christmas. Now that I know how tiring this parenting thing is, I realize just how important that gift was. Thank you, Mom and Dad. To honor that, I’ll be arriving in a few hours with your grandkids in tow!