Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas (or any other day) Lesson

People today are very outspoken about how "terrible" their lives are. Their lives really aren't" terrible", and where there are issues, many of them were self perpetuated. When I grew up I was always taught to have money saved for a "rainy day". Our "rainy day" money was never much, but a mishap would never put us into a bad situation, like foreclosure. My Mom made minimum wage or close to it all her life. I was telling Matt the other day how she brought a peanut butter and butter sandwich to work every day, for years and years. She claimed it was her Scottish frugality, maybe it was. I think it was by having parents who lived through the Great Depression.

Now people feel they need to have fancy lunches, living spaces, cars, and are living beyond their means. They forget what happened to their Grandparents and Great Grandparents when times were REALLY hard.

I have written before on the fact that people live beyond their means and it creates havoc. I have also written about charity being just that, and that it begins at home.It isn't a stage for you to stand on and say "look at the good things I am doing", the only reward should be you knowing that you did a good thing.I also have asked everyone to be tolerant and respectful of other races, religions, and cultures.I read a story yesterday that covered all these topics. It is a Christmas story, but it doesn't have to be.

So before you complain about being broke and how it is the government's (or anyone's fault but your own), or how you don't celebrate Christmas, so don't make me look at your Christmas tree, or tell how many charities you gave to in far away places this holiday season.....think about this:

During the Great Depression, a time when people really went without (without coats, shoes, food, shelter), there was a town in Ohio that received a great holiday blessing. One day in the newspaper, there was an ad that said a man wanted to make Christmas happier for everyone. It was 1933, and half the town of Canton was out of work. The ad was "signed" by B. Virdot. He said that if you lived in Canton and needed help with Christmas, write him, and he would send you a check for $5.00.

Now, $5.00 may not seem to be much, but in 1933 it was the equivalent of $100.00. Needless to say , this would solve a lot of problems for families during the Depression and help make Christmas a lot happier. His original ad said he would help 50-75 families. He ended up helping 150 families. No one knew who this man was. A young girl wrote to him saying that her family was not really living in Canton, but lived outside of town on a farm , and if he would send $10, she would clothe the whole family , buy Christmas dinner for everyone and presents. She got the $10.00

Many were families with 10 and 12 children, all with cardboard inserts in their shoes, and a will to work or do whatever they (legally) needed to in order to make some money.

So B. Virdot made 150 families Christmas day a happy one. He then just disappeared into history. The people and town recovered and life went on. One day in 2008 a woman gave her son a suitcase full of letters. He is a writer and she told him they were just "old papers". He read the letters all telling of hard times, starvation, and bare feet in the winter of 1933 Ohio. The names were not familiar to him, nor the person that the letters were addressed to. There were 150 canceled checks in the name B Virdot. His mother told him that B.Virdot was his grandfather. The name made up from the names of his daughters Barbara, Virginia and Dorothy.

His real name was Sam Stone, a Canton businessman. Not only did Mr Stone help those 150 families, and do it without recognition, not only did he not turn down a soul, but Mr Sam Stone was Jewish.Christmas was not a holiday he celebrated. Here is a man who did not live beyond his means, and was not hit hard by the depression, he gave locally, and without recognition, and he gave to people no matter what their nationality (he even gave to a lady who had moved there from Jamaica). All on a holiday that was not part of his culture and belief system! He knew it was important to his fellow townspeople, and he gave, from the heart without recognition, thanks, reward, or prejudice.

We may not all have the financial ability Sam Stone did, but we sure all need to have his heart!

There is only one person left living who benefited from B. Virdot's generosity. She is the only one , besides his family, who knows who he was. Even though he has long gone to his grave, he is remembered by at least one stranger.

Who can be more like B. Virdot, not only this holiday season , but all year long?

(The entire story is in the December issue of "Smithsonian")

Peshaui Wequashimese

(C)2010 Triple Moon Goddess Gina, May not be used, copied, or reproduced without prior written permission.

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