Friday, December 24, 2010
"You know, every day we see so much bad stuff and then it starts all over, and it's like, here we go again. But then you get a little special nugget like that and you're reminded about what is really important in the world."
We were standing around the back parking lot at work yesterday when John made the statement. They were indeed poignant words, made more so by the fact that he was dressed as Santa Claus.
When it came to a stand-in for Saint Nick, you couldn't ask for anyone better than John. The guy is a local legend when it comes to Kris Kringle - he has performed the role dutifully for at least the last fifteen years (and I am probably estimating his years of service conservatively low). He stands over six feet, weighs over three hundred, and has a head the size of Jupiter. And that's the great thing about him. No, not his massive melon, but the fact that I can write about it and not fear retribution or scorn from him. No one makes more fun of John than John himself. The words "affable" or "good-natured" don't touch the man. I can only sum it up with he's a great guy.
The "Nugget" that John spoke of was the visit a group of us from work made to a nearby family. A young father had died a few weeks before and left his three young children behind. Their mother had abandoned them years ago, so now they had moved in with their grandmother and her husband.
A coworker learned of the situation and got the ball rolling to help them out. Various organizations and charities were contacted and immediately got involved. The family's old farmhouse did not have an oven, so Lowe's graciously donated one. A collection was taken up around the office and necessities were supplied to the family. Heating oil was purchased for the winter.
The kids were asked to create a Christmas wish list and its contents would have made the meanest man raised by wolves and pirates shed a tear. They did not ask for video games and toys, but clothing and shoes.
The number one item, above all else, was "bring Daddy back."
A couple of hard chargers went out shopping and wrapped it all up, a company van was stuffed to the gills with the booty, and the surprised children soon greeted Mr. and Mrs. Claus at their front door.
Tow heads all, the three of them nearly knocked themselves out bouncing around the house. One look at their faces made me doubt that bigger smiles are humanly possible.
There it was - the Nugget that John would later talk to us about. The kids climbed into his lap as we proceeded to carry armload after armload of presents into their home. I could not help but feel good about being a small part of the moment, a fly on the wall able to observe something very special.
People like John and the individuals from the office who made it all possible - Bob, Mike, Kristin - they are modern-day miners.
Thanks for finding the nuggets for the rest of us.