[nfbmi-talk] merry Christmas

Jim Prather (Jim in Detroit james.prather at comcast.net
Sat Dec 25 06:16:05 CST 2010


Happy Christmas and for those who celebrate beginning tomorrow, Kwaanza. 
Have the best of an NFB holiday Season.

--------------------------------------------------
From: "gkitchen" <ghkitchen at comcast.net>
Sent: December 24, 2010 23:49
To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] merry christmas

Hi Joe,


Thanks for sending this. I will save it as I love reading  about their
overflowing love for one another   which Jesus has for all of us.

Merry Christmas,
Georgia
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "joe harcz Comcast" <joeharcz at comcast.net>
To: <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 11:03 PM
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] merry christmas


> THE GIFT OF THE
>
> MAGI
>
>
>
> by O. Henry
>
> One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it 
> was
> in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the 
> grocer
> and
>
> the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the
> silent
>
> imputation
>
> of
>
> parsimony
>
> that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One 
> dollar
> and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
>
>
>
> There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little 
> couch
> and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that 
> life
> is made
>
> up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
>
>
>
> While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first 
> stage
> to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per 
> week.
> It did
>
> not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the
> lookout for the
>
> mendicancy
>
> squad.
>
>
>
> In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, 
> and
> an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also
> appertaining
>
> thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."
>
>
>
> The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period 
> of
> prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when 
> the
> income
>
> was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting 
> to
> a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young 
> came
> home
>
> and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by 
> Mrs.
> James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is 
> all
> very
>
> good.
>
>
>
> Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. 
> She
> stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray
> fence in
>
> a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only 
> $1.87
> with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she 
> could
> for
>
> months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. 
> Expenses
> had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 
> to
> buy a
>
> present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for
> something nice for him. Something fine and rare and 
> sterling--something
> just a little
>
> bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
>
>
>
> There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you 
> have
> seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person 
> may, by
> observing
>
> his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a 
> fairly
> accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered 
> the
> art.
>
>
>
> Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her 
> eyes
> were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within 
> twenty
> seconds.
>
> Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
>
>
>
> Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in 
> which
> they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been 
> his
> father's
>
> and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of 
> Sheba
> lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair 
> hang
> out
>
> the window some day to dry just to
>
> depreciate
>
> Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, 
> with
> all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out 
> his
> watch
>
> every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
>
>
>
> So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like 
> a
> cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself 
> almost
> a garment
>
> for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she
> faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on 
> the
> worn red
>
> carpet.
>
>
>
> On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl 
> of
> skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered 
> out
> the
>
> door and down the stairs to the street.
>
>
>
> Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All 
> Kinds."
> One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, 
> large,
> too white,
>
> chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."
>
>
>
> "Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
>
>
>
> "I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at 
> the
> looks of it."
>
>
>
> Down rippled the brown cascade.
>
>
>
> "Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
>
>
>
> "Give it to me quick," said Della.
>
>
>
> Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed
> metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
>
>
>
> She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else.
> There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned 
> all of
> them inside
>
> out. It was a platinum
>
> fob
>
> chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by
> substance alone and not by
>
> meretricious
>
> ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The
> Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was 
> like
> him. Quietness
>
> and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they 
> took
> from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that 
> chain
> on his
>
> watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. 
> Grand
> as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of 
> the
> old leather
>
> strap that he used in place of a chain.
>
>
>
> When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence 
> and
> reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to 
> work
> repairing
>
> the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a 
> tremendous
> task, dear friends--a mammoth task.
>
>
>
> Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls
> that made her look wonderfully like a
>
> truant
>
> schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, 
> and
> critically.
>
>
>
> "If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a 
> second
> look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what
> could I
>
> do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"
>
>
>
> At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of 
> the
> stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
>
>
>
> Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on 
> the
> corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she 
> heard
> his
>
> step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white 
> for
> just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about 
> the
> simplest
>
> everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I 
> am
> still pretty."
>
>
>
> The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and 
> very
> serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with 
> a
> family!
>
> He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
>
>
>
> Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of
> quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in 
> them
> that she
>
> could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, 
> nor
> disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been
> prepared
>
> for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on 
> his
> face.
>
>
>
> Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
>
>
>
> "Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair 
> cut
> off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without
> giving you
>
> a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had 
> to
> do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and 
> let's
> be happy.
>
> You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for
> you."
>
>
>
> "You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not
> arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
>
>
>
> "Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well,
> anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"
>
>
>
> Jim looked about the room curiously.
>
>
>
> "You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
>
>
>
> "You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold 
> and
> gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for 
> you.
> Maybe the
>
> hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious
> sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put 
> the
> chops on, Jim?"
>
>
>
> Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. 
> For
> ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential
> object in
>
> the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is 
> the
> difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. 
> The
> magi
>
> brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark 
> assertion
> will be illuminated later on.
>
>
>
> Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the 
> table.
>
>
>
> "Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think 
> there's
> anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could 
> make
> me like
>
> my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why 
> you
> had me going a while at first."
>
>
>
> White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an
> ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to
> hysterical tears and
>
> wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting 
> powers
> of the lord of the flat.
>
>
>
> For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della 
> had
> worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise
> shell, with
>
> jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. 
> They
> were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and
> yearned
>
> over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were 
> hers,
> but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were 
> gone.
>
>
>
> But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look 
> up
> with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"
>
>
>
> And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"
>
>
>
> Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him 
> eagerly
> upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a
> reflection
>
> of her bright and ardent spirit.
>
>
>
> "Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have 
> to
> look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want 
> to
> see
>
> how it looks on it."
>
>
>
> Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands 
> under
> the back of his head and smiled.
>
>
>
> "Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a
> while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to 
> get
> the money
>
> to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."
>
>
>
> The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who 
> brought
> gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving 
> Christmas
> presents.
>
> Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the
> privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely
> related to you
>
> the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most
> unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their 
> house.
> But in a
>
> last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who 
> give
> gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, 
> such as
> they
>
> are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
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