Was it just me, or were there others who found it a little more difficult to get into the Christmas spirit this year?
I don’t know if it was the 108 degree weather, here, in Ohio, or maybe the sunburn I got from taking out the trash shirtless the other day, or perhaps, the lack of a special little snow bunny to spoil this year… but my jingle bells weren’t jingling, and it certainly didn’t look a lot like Christmas, from here.
To be honest, I’ve never felt as pathetic as I have, this year, when it came to giving gifts. The lack of money, and time to shop, sent me scouring the house, late Christmas Eve, for something to wrap and hand out on Christmas day.
So, everyone got .22 bullets. I know, how exciting. How pitiful. How tragic. How embarrassing.
I did it to myself, you know… stubbornly chasing dreams and wild ideas of the perfect job. Meanwhile, my wallet, bank account, and gift-getters suffered.
But in my Christmas Eve search for something amazing to give, I found something worth more than what money can buy. In the sad, heartbreaking swirl of the last little bit of cheap-tequila-margarita and past Christmas gift ideas, I found a childhood memory.
While thinking about what to give to my deserving mother, I stumbled upon the memory of how excited I used to get, at 12 years old, to read my new poems to my mom. I would burst out of my room, so excited at the crap that I just scribbled into stanzas, and I would interrupt her motherly duties just so that she could listen to said crap. And God bless her, she acted like she really enjoyed it!
I wanted to capture that memory, in a story, for my mother.
So, at 8:43 pm on Christmas Eve, I swallowed my last little bit of margarita, grabbed a half-empty Gatorade from the fridge, and wrote my mother some stupid, goofy, retro, throwback of a story to when my number one bleacher fan became my number one poetry fan.
And, as I sadly, handed out identically shaped, newspaper wrapped, baggies of ammunition, I may have felt a tinge of a tight lipped grin stretch the outer flanks of my cheeks, and possibly, just maybe, felt a small stir of excitement as I watched my mother open her oddly shaped package, pull out the small, crayon illustrated book called, Jacob and Maw Become BFF’s, and read it out loud.
Jacob and Maw Become BFF’s
Once upon a time, there was a very ornery little boy named Jacob. Jacob drove his mother crazy doing some of the most foolish things. Jacob would climb the highest trees and hang from the branches, he would climb up on top of the roof and hide from babysitters, and Jacob would speak out in class and make all of the other kids laugh out loud. Jacob was the class clown.
But one day, probably after receiving 20 lashes from his mother’s whip and being confined to his sleeping quarters on half rations and hard labor, Jacob decided to pick up his #2 mechanical pencil, grab a piece of college rule notebook paper, and write down his thoughts and feelings. Jacob was onto something….
He wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and scratched and scribbled out words, and then wrote some more, until he was almost completely satisfied with his work. Then, he picked up his paper, ran to the bottom of his mother’s bedroom steps, and yelled, “MAW!! THE MEATLOAF!!” (nonono, that’s not what Jacob yelled.) He yelled, “Please, lovely mother, come listen.”
And listen, she did. She listened closely. She listened well. And she listened with a smile. She was proud. She knew that Jacob was special… not the “special” kind of special, but actually, truly, special. From then on, whenever Jacob would write something new, he would rush out of his room, his paper flapping in his hand, and with excitement on his breath, he would read it out loud to his mother.
No matter what she was doing, she would stop, listen, smile, and either, give her approval, or tell Jacob not to use all of those curse words.
But Jacob was stubborn, Jacob was ornery… and Jacob used all of those curse words, anyway. He wrote poem after poem after poem, reading them all to his mother first.
And, like a proud mother, she decided to look passed all of those curse words and ornery references to things that she didn’t quite care for, and she instantly became Jacob’s BIGGEST FAN.
All of a sudden, Jacob went from being his mother’s ornery little shit, to his Maw’s favorite son, I mean, poet. The End.
It’s not my best work, by any means. It’s not attractive, or extravagant, or powerful, or even amazing, but knowing my mother, she would rather have something as silly, and goofy, and from-the-heart like that, than a gift card, or necklace, or brand new car… well, ok, she might rather have a brand new car. But you know what I mean.
And, knowing my mother, she will probably store this away with the other goofy shit that I wrote her or made her, and some day… open it up, pull it out, smile, read it again, maybe laugh… maybe cry… maybe wonder who in the hell I am (who knows). But she will remember a stupid gift like that, some pretty cool memory from my childhood, way more than she would remember something that I bought her.
What I’m trying to say is, even when we feel that we have nothing of value to give, we still do. We will always have a smile, laughter, kindness, some fun memory, or just a small, simple, little gesture that says, “I appreciate you,” to offer.
No matter how broke you are, how worthless you feel, or how poor your mood is, you always have the ability to show someone that you care.
Want more from Jacob Paul Patchen? Check out his 5 star rated book on Amazon.com. Or just click the pic!
Jacob Paul Patchen
Jacob Paul Patchen is a strong advocate for love, family, and laughter. He is his mother’s favorite child, his grandfather’s ornery double, and the one who offers the blessing before holiday dinner. With his background in poetry and his open heart, he sees the world in a transcendent light. With a deeper understanding of the importance of life’s “little things,” enriched by his time spent at war in Iraq, Jacob offers a philosophical, light-hearted, and insightfully energetic tone to his writing style.
Jacob is an award-winning writer and poet from Cambridge, Ohio. He was the recipient of the Beulah Brooks Brown Award in Poetry and was selected as the feature writer for Muskingum University’s creative writing magazine, First Circle. Jacob graduated from Muskingum University with a bachelor’s degree in English while focusing on creative writing, journalism, and speech communication. Since graduating, Jacob has written a script for a feature film, started a blog, thebackroadrevival.blogspot.com, (which has made him semi-famous in a small town), and is currently finishing up his debut book called, "Life Lessons from Grandpa and His Chicken Coop: A Playful Journey Through Some Serious Sh*t"
Growing up a few miles outside of a small village in the rolling hills of South East Ohio, Jacob spent most of his youth playing sports, spending time outdoors (i.e. climbing trees and hiding from babysitters), and finding his unique voice in writing. Feeling patriotic, he enlisted into the Marine Corps. Reserves during his senior year of high school. During his six year enlistment in the Infantry, he was deployed to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq in 2005. After his return from Iraq, with a better understanding of life and a renewed appreciation for opportunity, Jacob enrolled into Muskingum University to pursue a formal education in writing.
He is now living outside of Cambridge, Ohio where he balances part time work with full time play.