TASK #51: O Henry
Love is what you’ve been through with someone. James Thurber
In my opinion, there are three great Christmas movies. 1) It’s A Wonderful Life. 2) Family Man. And 3) Christmas Story. (Do not scoff at my picks–1 makes me laugh and two make me cry…)
And one great television Christmas show: “Gift of the Magi”. The original. 1958, with Gordon effing MacRae. It’s not shown much because it’s in black and white and it looks cheesy, but it’s good. It’s about this poor married couple who live in a New York tenement, circa 1890. They’re poor–like Bob Cratchet poor–but they have each other…
The husband’s prized possession is his pocket watch. He treasures it. He’ll pull it out and tell you what time it is even if you don’t ask.
His wife? She is most proud of her hair…it’s long and thick and cascades around her shoulders. Her hair defines her.
The story is set on Christmas Eve. The husband frets–he has no money to buy his wife a gift, but he HAS to–and she feels the same way…
On Christmas morning they kneel by their tree. They hand each other small wrapped presents. The husband opens his box–it’s a watch fob, which is a strap that will hold his beloved watch on his belt. His eyes light up! The wife beams–she knows it’s the perfect gift. Then she opens her present. Inside is a set of inlayed combs. Just what she needs for her hair!
Then the wife take off her night scarf. Her hair is gone! “What?”, exclaims the husband. “Where is your hair?” She looks at him and smiles. “I sold it”, she says, “to buy your watch fob”.
The husband smile ruefully and reaches into his pocket for his watch. He shows her his empty palm–he sold the watch to pay for the combs.
The fall into each other’s arms. She doesn’t have her hair, and he doesn’t have his watch, but they have each other.
Selfless sacrifice. That’s what the Christmas spirit embodies.
The greatest gift is the gift of love. Your task is this, and it’s not simple. Examine you possessions. Pick one you love, and either sell it and buy a present for that one person you love, or give that person the possession.
Merry Christmas from Joe Doe.
Photos by Mario Mancouso and Joe Doe