I ordered the apron for mom out of a mail order catalog. It was a November in the early 1960's.
Everyday after, I would check the mail.
"Dad, did a package come for me today?"
"Nope. What'cha looking for?"
"Ah, nothing much. Probably tomorrow.."
When school was let out for Christmas, I started meeting the mailman at the end of our driveway everyday.
Seven days to go. Six. Five.
My heart began to sink.
Then a package would show. But it wasn't mine. Not the one.
On Christmas Eve, we were busy getting ready. for the best day of the year.
Packages being wrapped. Fruit cakes being sliced. Ambrosia being chilled. Phone ringing. Big Papa and Momie stopping by to see what was going on. Looking forward to seeing all my cousins.
In the joy and warmth and excitement, I lost track of the mailman.
He had come and gone that Christmas Eve.
My mom was the center of my universe. She loved Christmas. She loved to spread joy. She loved to cook those once a year specialties.
I had spent hours picking out just that special gift. I had paid for it in cash with allowance money stored in my honey butter jar. It was the finest apron ever made.
But now it wasn't here. I had nothing for my mom for Christmas.
"What's wrong", mom asked. "You act like Santa isn't coming!"
Little did she know how right she was.
As I moped around late that afternoon, I tried to think of something I could do for her since I had no gift. Help around the house? Draw her a picture?
I was in a total stew.
And then I heard the sweetest words.
"Oh, look. The mailman came back. He said he had overlooked something."
It was nearly dark on Christmas Eve. And here comes the mailman with my mom's apron.
She wore it every Christmas till she died.
Thank you, Christmas Angel.
That Christmas about 50 years ago, you appeared as a mailman.
Wonder what you will look like this year?