One of my most treasured memories from Christmas past involves the worst wrapped present I received every year. You are probably thinking how can the be?

When I was a kid we had a family friend named Cora Edwards. She grew up with my mother in a small New England Town. Cora never married, but was very active in our church with my mother. She was a woman with limited employment opportunities. She mostly cleaned people’s houses and did some housekeeping at a local nursing home. But what she had that separated her from my mother’s other friends was her loyalty and big heart.

Any time you needed someone to talk to Cora was always around. If you wanted company on a stormy night Cora would come right away. And if you wanted a Christmas gift that would perplex you year after year Cora could supply it. The confusion over Cora’s gift every year, was only in trying to figure out what it was.

Each year in the second week of December her gift would appear under our tree. The tape was off center as was the bow. Some years it did not have a bow at all. In fact Cora was not big on gift tags. She would just write my name in marker on the wrapping paper.

I would walk around the tree looking at the strangely wrapped gift. One year i decided I was going to poke at it with a yard stick my mother used for sewing. As usual I got caught in midst poke. My mother spoke in a very stern voice. You know the kind that makes you feel like an escaped felon. Out of seemingly no where I heard her voice looming over me…”Jacqui do not poke that present you might break it!”

I was so irritated that I had been interrupted. I was certain that this was going to be the year I would know what was underneath that wrapping paper before Christmas. But I had a healthier fear of my mother. And with that in mind I abandoned poking Cora’s present. Walking away from it, I knelt down to see if I could figure out it’s contents just through observation. For the life of my ten year old soul I could not figure out what was inside.

Two weeks can seem like a lifetime, and it certainly did every year. Cora’s gift was the first one I opened every year. It’s unusual shape and contour had me so mesmerized I just ripped the paper off like a wild animal. What was inside was the same thing she would give me year after year… My favorite cookie at the time OREOS!!!

I miss those times every year. And when I think back on them it brings a smile to my face. How clever was Cora to confuse me year after year. The last year I got my cookies from Cora I was a senior in High School!!

What do you miss about Christmas!!