A sparkling, wrapped gift

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Old Saint Nick visits in three days.

What has been your most memorable Christmas moment?

About a month into my senior year of high school, we ordered graduation gear — caps, gown, tassel, invitations and our class ring.

Just before the Christmas holidays, I came home from school one afternoon and found this huge box addressed to my Mom.

The address label said it was from the graduation company.

I envisioned that sparkly class ring and couldn’t wait to wear it to school the next day. The temptation to rip open the box ran through my veins, but I knew better.

I brought it in the house and put it on Mom’s bed.

She came home from work, changed her clothes and finally opened the box. Everything was there — except for one small item.

There was no ring.

My heart dropped to my feet.

“It’s probably not ready yet,” Mom said.

She saw the disappointment on my face.

“Let’s call and see what’s going on,” she said.

Minutes later we had an answer, but one I didn’t want to hear. The company had many graduation accounts and wasn’t sure when the order for my high school ring would be complete.

Mom hung up the phone.

“Maybe it will be here by your birthday,” she said.

Christmas was two weeks away.

Then at least five weeks before my birthday.

Though a seven-week wait seemed unacceptable and sometimes an eternity to a teenager, I accepted it and started on my homework to keep me distracted.

A couple of days before Christmas, my best friend called and said he had received his ring.

I didn’t say anything to Mom.

Christmas morning arrived and I secretly hoped there’d be a small box somewhere underneath the tree. Mom passed out all of the colorful-wrapped gifts — all large in size.

One gift said “open last.”

After receiving mostly new clothes, that one last box remained. I unwrapped it and found another wrapped box. I unwrapped that one, only to find another wrapped box.

“Oh come on, Mom!” I exclaimed.

She said nothing.

Seconds later, I unwrapped the last box and there it was — my class ring.

I jumped up and wrapped her in a bear hug.

“You knew all along!” I said.

Mom smiled and gave me a kiss.

“Merry Christmas, kiddo.”

Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at rcoggins@mountolivetribune.com.

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