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January 2, 2013

Making a boy’s dream gift a reality

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Plain and simple, I was completely responsible for someone else’s Christmas dream. I told Becky, “I’m going to Target.” She looked at me and said, “You realize we don’t have the money.” But she didn’t try to talk me out of it, either.

So we got to work, took back some unopened presents, cut some corners and managed to find the last Nintendo machine in town on Christmas Eve. Heck, we even bought a game for it. Mike Tyson’s boxing game was Joey’s favorite.

When Joey went to bed, he was almost in tears, but painful as it was, we kept up the deception. Becky shrewdly left carefully weighted empty decoy presents so no one would catch on.

Have you ever seen a child so happy they smiled with tears in their eyes? That’s how Joey was on Christmas morning. He kept saying over and over again that this would be the best Christmas in his life.

“When did you get it? When did you get it? It wasn’t here last night,” he said.

Joey and I played that game all day long and took only short breaks for food. Sorry, girls — this was our Christmas Day. About 11 that night, Joey was exhausted. You see, in the boxing game you had to win a series of sequential boxing matches against fictional opponents in order to face the ultimate challenge, Mike Tyson. As I recall, lose one match and it’s back to the beginning. It had taken Joey all day to get about halfway to Tyson. He was getting there and I made him go to bed. He made it all the way up to the soft drinking Russian Soda Popinsky.

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