M. SCOTT MORRIS: Fun in the sun with Jay Bell


Does it seem strange that the season of giving comes after our time of gratitude?

Maybe Thursday’s counting of blessings makes us more big-hearted and willing to give.

This is a little early, dear reader, but I hope you’re already in a giving mood.

During a Mighty Daily Journal planning meeting, Judy McGhee’s Christmas story idea was assigned to me. She  wondered if there were adults who received presents as children that they still cherish – one Christmas morning reverberating for a lifetime.

It’s a fine idea that I’ve never done before, but I can’t call Santa Claus to get names and numbers because he’s way too busy, so I’m making the request to you. My contact information is below.

Normally, I don’t like to write about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but since I’m already holiday-hopping I thought I’d tell you about a gift that still resonates with me decades later.

I was raised in the ’70s and ’80s, an era of plentiful gold chains for men, women, boys and girls. I’d had two or three thin, 10-karat necklaces that eventually got twisted, probably from wearing them to sleep.

My mom and my sister crinkled up a few chains themselves. They also tended to lose earrings, so they had lonely twins sitting around, good for nothing, or so it seemed.

One Christmas morning, I didn’t get frankincense or myrrh, but a piece of gold. Mom had taken the broken and surviving pieces to be rendered down into nuggets for my sister and me.

There was a time when I wore the nugget often, but I’ve slowly realized I’m no longer a gold chain kind of guy. It’s too showy for me, even though it no longer shines because of long-neglected cleaning.

As we move into December, I’ll feel a pull to put it on, and I’ll give in, though I’ll usually keep it hidden under my shirt.

It won’t take long to forget that it’s there, as I go about my days and nights – and, yeah, I’ll sleep in it, too.

But the nugget’s flat back sometimes bounces off the top of my sternum, reminding me it’s there while also reminding me of people who are no longer here.

Those Christmases gone by included relatives and friends who haven’t been around to give or receive in decades.

So I’ve got this nugget that’s too ostentatious most of the year, but I can’t think of selling it simply because it’s worth far more than money.

My favorite Elvis song is “It Won’t Seem Like Christmas Without You,” and that nugget of gold on its chain says the same thing about much-loved people who I’ll never see around a Christmas tree in this world again.

Earlier I asked about your things, but I hope you understand by now that I don’t care about the things. I want the stories behind them.

M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

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