Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Sad, But True Christmas Story

Andy Whitman some time ago wrote this sad, but true Christmas story about his father. How we still need the Savior and his forerunner who will "turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).

A Candy Foxxx Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve, 1994, and my daughters, ages 8 and 6, anxiously await the arrival of Santa Claus.

Instead, my dad shows up with a new girlfriend in tow. Her name is Becky, and she’s a dancer. “Oh, do you do ballet?” Kate asks. Kate is so sweet. “No, I dance at a club,” Becky says. Kate ponders that one.

My dad totes in a bulging plastic trash bag. He dumps the contents out on our living room floor. There are presents, lots and lots of brightly wrapped presents. My daughters’ eyes widen. “Seventeen presents!” my daughter Katryn marvels. My dad picks one up. “This one’s for you,” he says, and hands a package to Becky.

Becky, whose nom de strip is Candy Foxxx, is maybe 30, maybe 50, it’s hard to tell. She looks at my dad with utter contempt. I know within the first two minutes of meeting her that she doesn’t give a rip about this old man and his Sugar Daddy pretensions, that she’s here in my house for one reason, and one reason only. She rips open the package, unwraps a dress. “Thanks,” she says.

My dad picks up another present. “Oh, look,” he says, “this one’s for you, too.” Becky unwraps a necklace. “Thanks,” she says in a monotone.

We watch this sordid exchange fifteen more times. The second hand inches along. There is wrapping paper scattered all over my living room floor. I watch my daughters’ eyes. I would give anything to shield them from this, to spare them this scene.

We eat our Christmas cookies and drink our eggnog in almost total silence. “Well, we have to be running,” my dad says. He bundles up the dresses, the necklaces, the purses, the perfume in the plastic bag. “Nice to meet you,” Becky says, averting her eyes. And then they are gone.

“Grandpa didn’t even say goodbye to us,” Katryn says.

“No, he doesn’t know how to,” I tell her. “He doesn’t know what to say.” And it’s true.

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