Many years ago when I was in grade school our blue-haired teacher had a Christmas party for all of the kids in her class.
We exchanged gifts from each other.
Santa Claus even showed up to listen to us talk excitedly about what we wanted for Christmas.
That done, it was time to rip open our brightly-wrapped packages.
Most of the other kids in my classroom that December afternoon received jump ropes and T-shirts and all sorts of neat toys.
When it came time for me to open my gift I was big-time excited in that room filled with giggling boys and girls.
When I was handed my present I couldn’t wait to open it.
My gift was round so I was hoping it was a baseball (I loved baseball) or something else that was really, really neat.
If I remember right my hands were trembling as I ripped open the gaily decorated gift.
I just knew I was going to find something really, really special.
But, as it turned out, my gift inside the package wasn’t special at all or at least I didn’t think so anyway.
There I was surrounded by the other kids who received really neat presents that year.
They opened packages holding everything from baby dolls to big-time candy bars.
When it finally came my turn to open my gift my hands were trembling and I had an enormous smile on my face.
Then, the bright-colored wrapping paper was gone and I saw what my gift was.
It wasn’t a toy car or a model airplane model for me to build.
It wasn’t a ball, either, or a neat shirt or a container of Tinker Toys or a scarf or a book.
When I opened my present I found an orange.
I offered a polite “thank you” to the boy who gave me the gift and then I returned to my seat in the classroom.
That afternoon when we were released from school I cried all the way home.
Bob Batz is an area resident and guest columnist. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.