Friday, December 26, 2008

Day After by Angie Ledbetter


It's the day after the Big Day. Christmas is over, and the only ones left with huge sacks to haul are the garbagemen coming to take away the trashed remnants. Out go the pretty wrapping all scrunched up; the torn boxes, ripped open in excitement; the boxes that held nifty kitchen gadgets, electronics or kids' toys; curled ribbons and remains from the feast.
My small family has a tradition of eating brunch out on Christmas, as we've spent the Eve enjoying the big family gathering, gag gift exchange, and eating a delicious potluck. We patiently waited for a table at the Waffle House, enjoying rehashing fresh memories of this year's holiday celebration with laughter.
Then a strange thing happened after we were seated. It was truly a sight to behold. There at the door of the breakfast restaurant stood a shirtless elderly man with long white hair and matching beard. He looked all the world like a day-after Santa. As most of the other diners snickered and pointed, I asked my husband to go to our vehicle and see if he had an extra shirt or jacket for the man who'd merely stuck his head in the door and asked, "Can y'all please fix me $4 worth of waffles? I'll wait out here."
Soon, my husband and the bedraggled Santa returned, the latter decked out in a brand new hooded sweat jacket with a few more bills in his pocket. I wish I could share the smile I had on my face and in my heart. My husband, not usually a demonstrative person, had gotten the opportunity to share. My teenagers, I'm proud to say, suggested we also pick up the man's tab for breakfast, and asked our waitress to tell him to order whatever he wanted. They had never once laughed at the unfortunate soul.
The other patrons went back to their conversations, and our "Santa" was treated with dignity by the hardworking staff who'd given up their Christmas morning to serve others.
At the table behind us, our Santa smiled and said, "God bless you," before returning to his babbling behind the menu to himself. I imagine he is a homeless veteran, someone who has no warm place to spend Christmas or any other day with loved ones.
Our Waffle House visit with "Santa" will be remembered long after I've forgotten what gifts I unwrapped this year. And the smile on the tired waitress's face when she saw her huge tip. And the pride I felt for my family around a cramped table eating brunch.
I am truly blessed and filled with gratitude. May you receive the same kind of gifts, long after the material ones have faded from memory, throughout the coming year and always.
{Photo by Angie Ledbetter}

9 comments:

Patresa Hartman said...

what a kind thing to do! that makes me happy that the man was treated kindly. the universe thanks you and your family, angie. seriously. i think every time things like that happen, the world gets lighter. :) merry christmas.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Merry late one to you, and a great 09 coming, Patresa. Believe me, the "gifts" received were all ours! I just love when the opportunities fall right into your lap! :)

Linda said...

Thanks for sharing this, Angie. This IS the true spirit of Christmas, isn't it?

Janna Qualman said...

Oh Angie, what a wonderful story! That your family worked together to make the man's holiday better is such a blessing, and sharing the details is even moreso.

Angie Ledbetter said...

You're welcome, Linda, and yes it is! :)

Janna, it really was special. Thanks for visiting us here at the YOG.

Anonymous said...

What a great family and story. I knew it all the time.
Oren

Barbara Quinn said...

What a fine Christmas story. Thanks for being you, Angie and for letting us see how a little goodness can have such big repercussions.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Oren, y'all go hang at the Waffle House on Seigen. Maybe it'll happen again, but either way, the wife will get a break from cooking. :)

Aw, Barb, thanks for the words. Hugs

kat magendie said...

what a lovely post, Angie. And just like you to do this kind of thing *smiling* and I'm proud of King Rufus ....:-) and your kids.

Listen to our Podcasts