The Spirit of Christmas Drove a Pickup Truck

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As Christmas time nears, I like to retell this story, a simple post  about my new home (at the time), new friends, and the beginning of many fine old memories in this fine old house.

Boz and Gracie prefer dry paws and wood heat.

Each year I wonder if, when or where I’ll cross paths with the spirit of Christmas. Perhaps in a person, sometimes in a moment, always when I least expect it, the spirit of the season will reveal itself.Usually as an observer, a bystander to generosity, whimsy or a simple act of kindness, I tuck the memory away like a fondly held Christmas card. But this year the spirit had a more direct approach, arriving early and in a pickup truck.

Last Sunday, as Boz & Gracie lured me downstairs with their ramped up barks, I could see a tall constitution of a man peering through my front door window.A friendly smile told me it was my neighbor, Dan.I’m chainsaw-challenged and most of my firewood is green and not split. Dan, a keen observer and a man of few words, pointed to the dry, split firewood in his pickup and said, “Merry Christmas, Tom. “ The spirit of Christmas overwhelms quickly and tends to leave its beneficiary tongue-tied. Add a bundle of pencil-thick kindling to the mix, and I am without words.Yes, the spirit of Christmas knocked on my door that day, and in the process reminded me that it’s a regular visitor.

Boz and Gracie, happy dogs by the fire

Toasty toes and pampered paws enjoy a fireside warm-up, courtesy of the Christmas spirit (and most generous neighbor).

20 COMMENTS

  1. I’m touched! There really is much love and kindness in the world and the idea that you might not have to look for it…..very, very special. Merry Christmas, Tom!!

  2. Tom, whenever I speak of your site, I ask people to check it out and find the “pick up truck” post. This speaks to me more than any other. The act itself so selfless and loving, the thought that heads back to our heart and mind that I am my brothers keeper. For me, however, the most touching is personal because I know and I love you and you so deserve the spirit of Christmas and this lovely neighbor ! Merry, merry Christmas my friend. Your words illuminate my days everyday and so you are my spirit of christmas wrote a blog.

  3. Love it, Tom! My husband sells firewood on the side and has given away more than a few loads in his time. That looks like a fine load of firewood and you’re right about the bonus of the kindling … icing on the cake! 🙂 Boz and Gracie and smart to like wood heat … it’s my favorite for sure. In fact, it’s time to load the stove after my morning walk with our collie, Sonny. 😉

    Merry Christmas!
    Shirley

  4. Tom you’re our spirit of Christmas 365 days of the year. It’s wonderful to hear that you reap what you sow. Bless Dan – Hugs to you and the fur kids.

  5. What a wonderful and apt post Tom. Thank you for the reminder that the joy we seek comes in small parcels like driving a pick-up truck . If only we have the eyes to see and a heart to appreciate – like you!

    Wonderful Holidays to you and pawpals 🙂

    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  6. How nice of him…it’s amazing having good neighbors! I remember as a kid, we used to spend a lot of time each fall/winter cutting and stacking wood to heat our house…man, what a pain!

  7. that is true vashon christmas spirit and a fine example of the neighbors that keep our community so fine…i am very glad that you are a contributor to and beneficiary of vashon pride and even happier that you recognize and are able to express it in writing. thank you neighbor and merry xmas!

  8. Tom — I just gave away half my stash of seasoned firewood to a needy neighbor family. Needy in the sense that they’d burned up their own supply and were worried about how they’d heat their house if they lost power during the rest of the winter. (Not an idle concern since our section of the island was dark most of this weekend after a utility pole carrying the main power line was demolished in the dark Friday evening by an errant vehicle.)

    Sad to report, my gift of firewood wasn’t a spontaneous gesture. A no-strings-attached example of gift giving that we hold up as the Christmas ideal and which your neighbor appears to possess in spades.

    I was promised, before we filled the back of my neighbor’s pickup, that my generosity would be rewarded with some unspecified quantity of wine. Since my neighbor has an excellent cellar, my assumption was that my reward would be something more than a couple bottles of Two Buck Chuck.

    After reading your lovely blog post, I am now awash in guilt and questions that won’t go away.

    Would I have given the firewood freely if my neighbor had asked without appending the wine offer? Probably.

    Would I have been as quick and cheery to respond had I not been mentally calculating what I would soon be drinking? Probably not.

    Should I have politely declined the wine to come, saying, in so many words: “Mi firewood es tu firewood?” This is a question for the New York Times Ethicist, or perhaps your readers, whose charitable bar is no doubt at a higher level than mine.

    Merry Christmas.

    • Gene I so enjoyed your comment that I reread it several times. And it does pose an interesting question, but let me assuage your fears. Anyone who has a wine cellar or wine collection is by no means needy. Nope, I’d venture to say, you should have received another case (and make it the good stuff) for your selfless rescuing of a neighborly oenophile in trouble. Power outages are serious business here on the island, and I think for most Vashonites, dry firewood trumps a couple bottles of bubbly any day, and besides how could your neighbor enjoy a chilled burgundy. Nope you are the hero, you are the man, you are goodness through and through. 😉

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