Nevada History
by John C. Evanoff is excited to present this series of articles by noted author and poet, John C. Evanoff. John will tell us about Nevada history and cover some of the more remote and unusual things to see and do in Northern Nevada.

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A Story of Reflection

The Last Christmas Present
December, 2009
By John Evanoff

The last Christmas present was about to be bought for the year. All my sweat and toil through days of contests to see who would arrive first to stand in line, who would reach the racks with the headline toys to make the kids squeal and all the voracious stalkers aiming their eyes at those same trophies; all this was about to come to an end.

The shopping wars had worn me down as I reached for the final item, a small box adorned with advertising and a clear plastic covering over a wonderful baby doll with soft skin and realistic eyes. It was the last one of its kind and alas, the quarry was mine.

Suddenly, a short pile of rumpled clothing moved into my sight. Under ordinary circumstances, I wouldn’t have even glanced down except to move out of the way, but I couldn’t take my eyes off this little person. She was a slender dark haired little girl with pale skin and wide blue eyes. There were wisps of threads coming off her wrinkled patched light-blue jacket and a woolen scarf made up of a rainbow of colors. She pushed her way through the unconcerned crowd and moved toward me pointing to the box in my hand.

'Mommy…That’s the one I saw,” she said.

Immediately, I looked up to see a thin, red-haired young lady with a face that reflected pride and sensitivity.

“Sorry honey. Maybe Santa will bring you one next year,” the young lady said. It was easy to establish from her tattered but clean clothes and the few items in her arms that she was going through some hard times. She didn’t show her fears though.

I walked to the check stand thinking of all the wonderful Christmas pasts and the screams of laughter and joy soon to come this Christmas. When, I took out my credit card and started to pay for the doll, the checker looked up at me and asked if I needed anything else.

“Yeah, you know…could you put that box in a brown paper shopping bag for me? And add that roll of wrapping paper and that silver silk bow there too.”

“Sure, no problem,” the checker said.

As I left the store, I saw the little girl and her mother hand in hand crossing the street. The young mother sat down on the bench at the bus stop and picked up her daughter to cuddle next to her.

The timing was perfect. I approached the two and handed the bag to the young mother.

“Santa thought this year would be better,” I said.

As she looked down into the paper bag, she immediately looked up with a thoughtful stare of disbelief, a tear beginning to grow in the corner of each of her eyes and a face that would be hard to forget in a lifetime of Christmases.

Just as the bus drove up, I turned and crossed the street to my car.

I sat in the parking lot a minute and reflected as the young lady waved appreciatively from her window in the departing bus.
“Finally finished Christmas shopping,” then, I sighed in glorious relief and contentment.

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