Meaningful gifts last a lifetime

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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Social media, quite frankly, can be quite ugly. There are those who cast aside all elements of decency and bury a knife – literally, not physically – straight into the heart of their intended – or in some cases, unintended – victims.

I’ve read some horrific posts on social media. It boggles my mind that people can be so cold and cruel. I guess they feel some level of superiority while they peck away on their computer keyboard. It makes me wonder if they would have the intestinal fortitude to make those heartless remarks face-to-face?

But then there are those loving, kind-hearted souls on social media….those who always have positive thoughts and have a knack of sharing the right words or posting the right image to help someone get through what was an otherwise miserable day.

To those people, thanks for always having an uplifting presence about them. Those are the people we need in our lives.

One crossed my path last week. It was an extremely stressful week here at work, especially from a standpoint of meeting deadlines. On top of that was the fact that I realized Christmas was only a few weeks away. There’s so much to do – personally and professionally – to prepare for that holiday. My mind was racing, even when I laid my head down at night. My soul screamed for a distraction…a sign from above that I need not to worry about materialistic things and rather focus on the real reason for the season.

That’s when I read the following posted by a friend on Facebook. There was no mention of the author, so I’m sharing this in the same way it was presented.

The Christmas Coat

An old boy was fumblin around one day in a women’s clothing store,

He’d found his wife a Christmas coat and was headed for the door.

He bumped into a little boy that looked like he was lost,

And he said “Mister can you help me find out how much something costs?

“Here it is almost Christmas and the nights are gettin cold,

Winter time is on us and my mom don’t have a coat.

I’ve been workin for the neighbors and saving for a time.”

And in his tiny outstretched hand was a dollar and a dime.

His gaze went from that big eyed boy to that pretty Christmas coat,

And he finally cleared away the lump that had gathered in his throat.

He said “Son that’s just what this coat costs, we’re lucky that we found ‘er,”

And he turned around and gave a wink to the lady at the counter.

She put it in a pretty box and wrapped it up just so,

And went off in the back and found a big red Christmas bow.

The child said “I thank you for your help sir and I kindly thank you ma’am,

I hope y’all are gonna have a big Christmas cause now I know I am.”

Well the old boy walked home busted, except for the dollar and the dime,

Thinkin he’d just have to buy the coat another time.

He told his wife that Christmas this year wouldn’t be much fun,

And he gently took her in his arms and told her what he’d done.

She said “why you old softie, I wouldn’t trade you for a farm,

I’ve got two or three old coats and your love to keep me warm.”

She put that money in a matchbox and placed it beneath their tree,

And said “that is the grandest gift you’ve ever given me.”

The years went by like years will do when people are in love,

Their marriage was a golden bond that was forged by God above.

Then one day came some bitter news that filled his heart with fright,

The doctor told the old man’s wife that she was going to lose her sight.

He said “there’s an operation we can do, but it puts me on the spot,

Cause it’s a quite complex procedure and it’s going to cost a lot.”

The old man said “doctor I’m a failure, I’ve made no preparation,

We don’t have the money for that kind of an operation.”

The doctor got the strangest look and he sat there for a while,

And then he slowly nodded and he broke out in a smile.

He said “why sir you can’t fool me you’re a very wealthy man,

You long ago invested in the world’s best savings plan.

I’ll see she gets the best of care she’s going to be just fine,

And the total cost to you old friend is a dollar and a dime.”

The old man stared in disbelief then he recognized that smile,

The one he’d seen those years ago on a loving and thoughtful child.

He said “what you gave to me that day was more than just a coat,

You gave me the gift of giving and you gave my mother hope.

My mother had been mistreated, neglected and abused,

But she gave life just one more chance and it was all because of you.

Now every year she takes that coat and lays it beneath our tree,

It represents to us the things that Christmas ought to be.

She says that when we leave this world for a better home someday,

The only things that we’ll take with us are the things we gave away.”

It’s my wish that the short time it took you to read this poem about the Christmas Coat will make you stop and think of what things you will have in your hands when the good Lord calls you home.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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