I remember that Christmas really well. I think my family purchased about every Star Wars figurine that was produced in 1982, or whatever year that was. I mean seriously, I had a collector’s case with every slot filled. As the years wore on, it went down to about 7 figurines before I sold it at a garage sale. In fact, I am not sure how many Christmas presents I even still have from last year.
I get some memorable presents, but they wear out or I like to trade things a lot. I guess receiving gifts, are sort of like a strange way of telling someone’s character. I like getting a lot of stuff, but then I lose or trade it all. I am not sure what that says about me except that I am short term materialistic person. I love stuff, I just don’t like to keep it. Seriously every time I have a week off I am trading or selling for something else. It is an addiction.
It probably all started with a local pawn dealer named aptly, Chet. He was a relatively tall man who lived in my Grandparent’s town. For the latter years of his life, I remember him buying an old a-frame style church and living in it. That church had probably not seen his kind of shenanigans before. I delivered a roll of carpet there one day and realized he liked to keep a lot of junk around. He was probably classified as a hoarder, but I sure thought he was a cool person. He looked like a cross between Bo Diddley and Lionel Ritchie. Also he was one of the first African American I ever knew. My Grandpa called him a friend. A friend with a keen business sense and a knack for taking Grandpa’s trade-in appliances. Over the years, I remember the guitars, keyboards, and other items he would find for us. He dealt in all kinds of things, from firearms to furniture.
He had a knack for stuff, but he also had the same itch to wheel and deal. Those of with this kind of thinking are always trying to stretch our dollar a bit more. Isn’t that really what Jesus died for?
He came to earth so that we could have something more, he called it life abundant. As my Pastor said on Sunday, he died so, “We could dance in the face of our enemies.” I have not danced in front of anyone, in years, but I understand the rush of making a trade. I get it. There is a rush. I enjoy the rush of a great deal. I also enjoy the rush of adding to someone’s life. All those years ago, Chet added something to my life, much more than stuff. He taught me that my Grandpa loved some people that others thought were unloveable. He trusted the untrustworthy and he often made decisions that looked awful to others. He did this with Chet and he did with me, when I was a 12 year old boy trusting me to work in his store.
Those Star Wars figurines are sitting somewhere right now. Probably in the landfill, but their memory exists, but so much more the memory of the actual people who thought enough to make a little boy’s Christmas so special. The gift never matters as much as the giver, for the giver will always be there in memory or life lessons.