Truly blessed with the greatest gift

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

It’s hard to believe Christmas is only five days from today, or 245 more TV showings of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

When this time of year rolls around, my thoughts sometimes turn to visions of Christmas past, when I was a child and when my now grown daughter was a child. And the Christmas 44 years ago when I proposed to my wife and immediately fell ill.

I had been feeling bad through the morning, and went to have Christmas dinner (actually lunch) with Marcia and her family and present her with her engagement ring. I proposed and received the well-whishing from her family, all the time feeling like death warmed over. I left before the meal and drove home, where my parents wondered why I was home so early and what was going on. The comment, “I don’t feel well” got my mother heading for the thermometer, which after the prescribed time read 100 degrees, and pointed to a trip to more comfortable clothes and the bed, where I stayed until that night, when Marcia and her family came over.

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We often think about that day and laugh now, although at the time the whole episode wasn’t funny, and we enjoyed getting strange looks from our friends, and from our daughter when we relayed the story to her.

So I here I am now, writing these words and thinking about that time and wondering what I will get my wife for Christmas this year. It’s amazing how the times have changed, and as we’ve grown older it’s become a challenge to surprise each other with the right gift. Not that it’s a chore. Doing something nice for a loved one is never a chore. But as you get older some things change.

We no longer buy each other clothes because our bodies keep shifting size and shape. Jewelry is always nice, but with the styles today, finding something that will suit my wife’s tastes sometimes can be difficult, and we hate the commercials for “chocolate diamonds” that look like dirty glass. I beat that problem several years ago when I had the diamond from Marcia’s engagement ring put in a new setting.

Shopping for a grown daughter is difficult as well, and there are times I wish she was a little girl again, and all we had to hear about was the latest doll or action hero, although I don’t want to go back to the time I had to drive to the local K-Mart to get the Princess of Power’s Crystal Castle on Christmas Eve. That gift had those dreaded words, “Some assembly required.”

But then when I look through the haze of the past and into the present, I realize I’ve got the greatest gifts of all, a wife who loves me and puts up with me, and a daughter who loves me and of whom, despite her moments, I’m proud of.

That will always be the gift I enjoy most a Christmas — my family.

Merry Christmas.

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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