A very special day

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Today is the day before Christmas Eve.  We used to call it, “Christmas Eve Eve.”  It also happens to be the same day on which my brother Jeff and my cousin Sonny and I used to visit our grandmother, Maw Maw, every year for Christmas.  Those were special times.  In fact, there is a photo hanging on the wall in my man-cave of the three of us on one such day.  It was taken in 1970, 44 years ago today.  I was 9 years old.

Christmas 1970

As I grew older and became an adult, and later served in the US Air Force, I was unable to see her in person every year.  But I made a point to call, on this very special day, to wish her a Merry Christmas.  It mattered not where I was at the time.  Sometimes, I was in a different country.  But I called just the same.  I never missed a year — almost 50 of them.

For those who have read my book, Mighty Little Man, Maw Maw is mentioned within.  But what you probably don’t don’t know is that Maw Maw passed away a few weeks ago.  She was 95.  This will be the first first time in my life that I will be unable to speak to her on this special day.

I will never forget those wonderful times we spent at Maw Maw’s when we were kids.  We used to set up a race track for our collection of Hot Wheels cars and race them from the bedroom door, down the hall, and into the living room — for hours at a time.  When we tired of that, we’d go outside and play football in the front yard.  It didn’t matter that a concrete sidewalk ran right through the middle of our ball field.  We played anyway.  Later, back to the races, we would take a break only to prepare some french fires and snack on them until we couldn’t keep our eyes open.  And it would begin again the next day, Christmas Eve, until it was time to go home and get ready for Santa’s visit.  Ah, childhood.  What a wonderful time that was.

But Maw Maw is gone now, and today, perhaps more than any other day of the year, I miss her terribly.

I would just like to let her know I’m thinking of her on this very special day.

I love and miss you, Maw Maw.  Thank you for such wonderful times and memories.

See you again soon.

Love, Jonny

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I just got an incredible gift …

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It’s an early Christmas present from my mother.  Here’s the story:

When I was about two years old (that was a long time ago), my mother used to read books to me on a regular basis.  Each night before bed, she would ask me to run get one of the many books she had for the purpose, and almost every time, I brought her the same book over and over again.  She grew absolutely sick and tired of this particular book, but she read it to me anyway.  She said she read it so many times that I had it practically memorized.  There was one point in the story that I always anticipated where she would turn the page and read, “KERSPLASH!”  She said I always giggled uncontrollably, not only in anticipation of what I knew was coming, but especially the WAY she read it.

For years she’s been looking to replace it for me as a surprise, but never could find it.  Finally, my 32 year old son, her grandson, found it online just the other day.  They ordered it and told me to open it immediately upon arrival.  I got it today, Friday, December 5, 2014.

To my surprise, I think it’s an original (not a re-print).  It still has a price sticker on the front cover for 19 cents, and the copyright on the inside is from 1954 (written in Roman numerals).  It’s in marvelous shape, too.

But without further ado, here it is:  It’s Jim Jump, published by the Western Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Thanks, Mama!!

Jonny

Jim Jump