Christmas Gift
by Jean Binns Smith

     In the fall of 1982 Black and Decker advertized their first rechargeable flashlight on TV. I knew that was just what Gene needed and ordered one at the local hardware store for him as a Christmas present. Two days before Christmas, when the store still had not received their first shipment of flashlights, I became desperate. Not having a traditional Christmas present to give him, I wrote this story. When I gave it to him Christmas morning, as I remember he laughed so hard he couldn’t finish reading it out loud.

     Before you read the story I’ll try to help you visualize the area where the little flash light hung. At that time we lived in the Spring Creek farmhouse. In the kitchen was a tall closet, about 8 by14 inches, built mainly to cover the pipes coming down from the bathroom above. It was large enough to hold a large size bag of dog food, a mop, broom, dustpan., and nothing more Along one side about four feet high there was fastened a narrow board with hooks on it. It was there we hung all the keys for the farm and the key chain with a little flash light attached hung there also.


     One upon a time, there was a teeny, tiny flashlight, the smallest flashlight ever. He was so small he could be fastened to a key ring and carried in a small pocket. But he hardly ever was. He longed to feel snug, secure and wanted in a pocket, but he hardly ever was.

     In a short time his battery burned out and his bulb disintegrated and the dejected, rejected flashlight hung in the closet and his tears dripped down and made the dog food all damp and moldy.

     This went on year after year and the Littlest Flashlight’s yellow coat grew duller and he grew sadder and sadder. Then two days before Christmas, way back in 1982, he was taken from his forgotten hook in the closet wrapped in a box and placed under the Christmas tree.

     On Christmas Morning, the Master of the House, Mr. Gene, picked up the package containing the Littlest Flashlight, unwrapped it and exclaimed “ What in the *$#@ is this %$#@* thing doing here?“ and dropped the Littlest Flashlight to the floor to be lost among the discarded wrapping paper. Instead the Littlest Flashlight rolled under the chair and laid forlorn and forgotten and cried real tears.

     One night shortly after Christmas, the Christmas Spirit, disguised as the Good Wife of the House, crept back into the Christmas Room. She reached under the chair, drew out the sad forgotten flashlight, smiled at him and held him in her hands

At that moment the Littlest Flashlight felt himself start to grow
He grew
And He Grew

     And he became so BIG and BRIGHT he became a new BLACK and DECKER Rechargeable Flashlight!

     The Good Wife called to the Master of the House. He came running - picked up the New Flashlight- and jumped up and down shouting “ You will be my friend at Hunting Camp“ “You will be my buddy in the spring house!” “ You will be my companion to check the furnace pump!” “ I will take you everywhere with me!”

     The disguised ugly Littlest Flashlight slipped into Mr. Gene’s hand and was very happy, happier than he had ever been in his life. Mr. Gene was happy too, for now he had a flashlight whose batteries would never grow dim and burn out. Now his flashlight would always shine bright to lead his way in the dark.

The End

     In closing I would like to repeat these words I said on my eightieth birthday as I reflected over my life.
     I have been blessed. I have a caring husband, three wonderful daughters, 6 loving grandchildren, two special great grandchildren and many loving friends and extended family members.
     In between caring for my family and friends, some other highlights include

  • Marching down Fifth Avenue in NYC at 16 with the American Legion band
  • Completing my nursing education and earning my RN.
  • Making a few good quilts
  • White water rafting down the Youghiogheny River at 50
  • Watching whales off the New England coast
  • Deep sea-fishing off the Outer Banks of N C
  • Taking an eight day raft trip down the Grand Canyon at 59
  • Walking on Ruth Glacier below Mount McKinley at 78
  • Dancing at a native America Powwow with a 4 month old knee at 79
  • Hurling in Alaska’s Kachemak Bay

    May your life be so fulfilling.

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