NORMAN — In the days leading up to Christmas, my family had a secret that we were keeping from my 15-year old brother, Jimmy.
I was 14, Marianne was 13, Alicia was 11, and Jeff was 10. We weren’t exactly the perfect ages to be harboring secrets, but we had managed to pull this one off.
Each year, under our live tree, we always had so many Christmas presents that they would spread out halfway into our living room. Although the presents were never expensive, our parents were masters at giving us each a lot of individual gifts to open.
Some of the gifts were always practical items, like socks and underwear. Other gifts were to feed our minds and spirits, like books and toys. Even before Christmas, we had fun as we sorted our gifts into personal piles, counting and comparing the booty of packages per person.
This particular year of “The Big Secret,” Jimmy had only one very small gift under the Christmas tree. He tried to hide his disappointment each day when he searched under the tree to see if he could possibly locate some new gift with his name on it, but he never did. All he ever found was a very small, ring-size box, wrapped neatly in bright-green wrapping paper, tied with a small, red bow.
On Christmas morning, Jimmy sat patiently, clutching his one small gift, while he watched the rest of us tear through the wrappings of our presents. We were happy, as usual, to be receiving our own gifts, but we were even happier that we would soon get to reveal an amazing secret.
Finally, we had torn through all of our gifts, and there was nothing left but for Jimmy to open the square-shaped box on his lap. We all giggled with anticipation as we watched him open the gift.