A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Christmas in the post-War United States

One of the many things Mary was entranced with was a plan called layaway.  It seems to be making a bit of a comeback these days.

She would shop for the Christmas holiday by going to the nearby Sears store and gather up some items that she wanted Abby and I to have and take them to the layaway desk.

She then would fork over a few dollars for them to hold the items and set up a payment plan.  Often she would forget when the next payment was due and would then beg, borrow, or steal a few more dollars so she could pay her next bill.

Mary was always a day late and a dollar short for most of her life.  Sometimes she would be late on her bills, sometimes for appointments (such as remembering when to pick her kids up from school) but she was never late for dinner or a drink!

After all, she had her priorities and she was at the top of her list. If only she had possessed the determination to write it, she could have easily composed the book “Looking Out For Number One” well ahead of when Robert Ringer published it.

Abby and I would hear for months after Christmas how hard Mary had worked to make the holiday merry.  Between baking those god-awful fruitcakes and stuffed dates to buying some gaudy outfits for us, she thought she had turned our Christmas dreams into a reality.

We learned early on that Christmas wasn’t really about the presents.  Christmas came, just the same, because we knew how to celebrate just by being together as a family, albeit a far from normal one, but a family just the same.

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