First Christmas’s ……

10 Dec

A friend and fellow blogger recently posted a story about her 1st Christmas with her husband and his two children.  It was a touching story filled with roaches, and mac and cheese and hotdogs, clearly not combined, but each having an important place in her story.  And while I make fun of it, it was a very touching and moving story.  So hopefully she doesn’t shoot me.

When I read it, it immediately brought to mind how my wife and I shared our 1st Christmas together. As my friend’s story impacted me, maybe this will impact you and stir up some good memories.

It was Christmas 1977, my wife and I had been living together for several months, and we were poor, really poor.  I was still in the Navy (E5), stationed in Norfolk VA, and my wife (while attending classes) had some type of part-time job, and together our incomes almost equaled zero.

We were living in a little 1 bedroom apartment, furnished with things from both of our prior marriages.  She clearly brought the better stuff into our relationship. But it was all functional, and we called it home.  We lived paycheck to paycheck, the last couple of days of each pay period the funds were always saved for fuel, so we could get back and forth to our jobs and her classes.  My wife was great at budgeting and managing what little money we had.  As Christmas approached we knew money would be tight, we agreed to forgo presents for the most part (1 each), and we knew we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree or a big Christmas dinner.  Love was on our side, and it wasn’t difficult to make these decisions.  A couple of days before Christmas, I got to stand an additional watch, so we had a few extra dollars, with those extra funds we splurged and bought a single string of Christmas lights.  When we got them home we didn’t know where to place the lights.  We looked around the living room for the best place and finally decided that the sofa table would look good dressed out.  There were decorative pieces at each of the 4 corners of the sofa table that allowed us to string the lights thru table.  This made for a giant splash of light in our living room.  Steph made the sofa table look great with the lights, fake garland, and some hand me down Christmas decorations.  We placed our gifts on that table for Christmas morning.  We also hung our stockings from those decorative pieces on the table.  It was quite festive all things considered.

As I said earlier, being as poor as we were, we didn’t have the money to spend for a fancy Christmas meal with all the trapping, and it being the end of the pay period, we had even less.  At this point we were eating anything left in the cabinets.  It could have ended up being a Mac and Cheese Christmas.  Then the light bulb in my head flashed on, we could eat onboard the ship. On Christmas Eve I found out I could bring my wife onboard for Christmas dinner and all I would have to pay is the comrats rate for that meal.  Which in this case, the Christmas meal would cost 62 cents, yes a whole big whooping 62 cents.  The problem was that this particular Christmas was right at the end of a pay period, and we didn’t have 62 cents.  I know that sounds ridicules but we were poor and it was almost 40 years ago.  On Christmas morning, we opened our gifts, had breakfast, watched TV and tried to figure out where we would get the 62 cents.  The fact is we were only a few cents short.  We went on a scavenger hunt in the apartment, emptying drawers, searching thru pockets, looking under the couch, in the cushions, and on and on, and we finally managed to find enough to cover the cost of the meal. Throughout the search we joked and teased, almost having a giggle fest.  Our first Christmas was one of the very best Christmas’s ever.

The meal was feast, fit for a king, but this isn’t about the food.  Our 1st Christmas was outstanding.  For years afterward we decorated that sofa table, it became part of our family tradition, how we prepared for Christmas. We were never that poor again, sure our first few years together were financially rough, but we could celebrate the Christmas meal in a more traditional way.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE, keep the Spirit alive.

 As always your comments and thoughts are welcome.  Take care, Bill


Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Humor, Ramblings


Tags: , , , , ,

16 responses to “First Christmas’s ……

  1. Pat Fraser

    December 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I loved it. The best part is that the table is the reminder. I think the second time around you both found the perfect match. Merry Christmas to you both.


    • FlaHam

      December 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Pat, Thank you for you so very kind words. We kept that table until it fell apart, then gave it to our daughter who kept it even longer. The table maybe gone but the memories aren’t. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Take care, Bill

  2. Ned's Blog

    December 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Beautiful story, Bill. It’s amazing how finding the right person opens up a whole new world of possibilities and happiness with the simplest things just by being together — any time of year. My wife and I have been together for six years now, both on our second marriages for many of the same reasons. We found each other online and thank God each day, and especially during the holidays. Thanks for sharing your story, and the affirmation that joy can be found in the simplest of things, even in the couch cushions, when you have love. Cheers, and Merry Christmas 🙂

    • FlaHam

      December 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Ned, Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting on my current post. I appreciate your kind words. I wish you and your wife a Very Merry Christmas, and hope you have a wonderful 2013 which is filled with joy. Keep smiling and continue to look under the cushions, you never know what you will find. Take care, Bill

  3. Kira

    December 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Wonderful story, I hope you have yet another wonderful and Very Merry Christmas.

    • FlaHam

      December 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      Kira, Again thank you for you kind words, I appreciate that you stopped by liked and commented on my current post. I would like to wish you a Very Merry Christmas, and good fortune for 2013. Take care, Bill

  4. Squirt

    December 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Sweet story, Dad 🙂 I think I’ve heard it a few times but still makes me smile.

  5. DeeDee Granata

    December 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    This is a great story! Happy holidays to you and yours my friend.

  6. ShimonZ

    December 21, 2012 at 6:28 am

    I came upon your blog by complete accident, and loved this story of a holiday without the money to celebrate it, that did come out all right… and was filled with love. May you continue to enjoy great friendship and love together, and may ever Christmas be better than the one before. All the best to the both of you.

    • FlaHam

      December 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments, they are greatly appreciated. I am so glad you stumbled onto my blog, I hope you find other aspects equally interesting. The telling of this story was inspired by a wonderful friend of mine, as she recounted her 1st Christmas with her husband. Christmas is a very special time of year and the joys associated with it come in many ways and from many directions. Over the years I have been fortunate to encounter many such joys at Christmas. Take care and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Bill

  7. drinkcoffee (Paula)

    December 23, 2012 at 4:41 am

    You two are truly blessed to of found each other. God as really blessed your marriage. This was such a beautiful story of true love.
    God bless

    • FlaHam

      December 23, 2012 at 7:12 am

      Paula, Thank you stopping by and checking out my post. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Take care, Bill

  8. huntmode

    August 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Dear Bill, I found this gem while doing a word search on your site. Such a lovely memory! I’ve done my share of hunting for change. In fact, for many years after getting my first job, I disdained pennies because of all those hunts. This was just heartwarming. Thanks for sharing!

    • FlaHam

      August 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Hunt, Smiling, if I see a penny laying on the street I will pick it up, put it into my pocket and drop it in the change jug at home. Every year or so (depending) I will take all of that loose change and have it converted into real folding money. Generally its at least $150 and have had as much as $350 in the jug. The jug sits on my desk as a reminder, of both good and bad times. And that things grow a little at a time. I am so glad you found and enjoyed this story. Take care, Bill

      • huntmode

        August 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm

        You made me laugh, Bill. You know that custom or wisdom about lucky pennies? The trick is they have to be face up, so when I see one on the ground (walking Ella for instance), if it is face down, I turn it face up and leave it for the next person. My way of passing it forward. Grin.

        • FlaHam

          August 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm

          Hunt, You made me realize something. I now understand exactly why my luck is so hit or miss. I pick up the penny and put it my pocket without even considering it’s butt up. I may have to be more careful now. Thanks for the tip. Take care, Bill


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