Sometimes the most memorable Christmases are those observed. Such an experience was mine in about 1969 or 1970. That year, a few years after my retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 1966, I was a teacher of social studies at the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah.
During my military years I had been an electronic technician and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the work. Color television was becoming popular so I found a small television repair shop that would let me work there for the experience that I wanted. This shop was just branching out into television and appliance sales and could use my help delivering the larger appliances.
Each afternoon after leaving the school, I would go to the TV shop where the owner and I would make deliveries.
On one particular day, about a week before Christmas, we had, among other items, a clothes dryer to deliver. We loaded it on the truck at dusk, but by the time we reached the delivery address, it was night. We peered through the darkness to see a very small, old house sitting well back from the street. Leading to this house was a narrow path with about twenty inches of snow on each side.
Instead of using a hand truck, we carried the dryer to this house and knocked on the door. A lady answered. She said that she was the person named on the delivery slip but that there had to be a mistake; she had not ordered a dryer and could not pay for one.
We told her that it was already paid for and the name and address were correct so it had to be hers. As we tried to convince her to let us bring it in, a young woman about 15 years old came in from another room. Hearing us, she told us to bring in the dryer it was for her mother's Christmas.
We carried it inside, and couldn't help but listen as the mother asked how her daughter had paid for it. The daughter replied that she and her younger brother had earned the money. She had saved her baby-sitting money, and her younger brother had saved his yard work money in the summer and his snow shoveling money in the winter.
The mother asked how long they had been doing this.
"Three years," said the daughter. What the young woman said next is a memory that will never leave my mind:
"Momma, Bobby and I couldn't stand it to see you come in from hanging the clothes in the winter and cry because your hands hurt so much."
This put tears in every eye in that room.
Carl Haupt is a member of the Benson Ward, St. David Arizona Stake