NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 3, 2012

The best present of all was from my Uncle Ralph

As I See It
Ralph Ayers

---- — Let’s see: I am about to witness my 90th December, and that is a miracle in itself. Another miracle is the birthday of Christ on Dec. 25, according to our Biblical scholars, but unfortunately, many earthlings think it’s that time of year to outdo their family and friends in how much money they spend on presents.

Did I imagine it, or have I seen TV ads dealing with Christmas during the first week in November?

Oh well, talk to old-timers, like myself, and they’ll tell you the real meaning of Christmas, but enough of that for now.

My story this month, oddly enough, is about presents one receives at Christmas, and I would like to tell you a Christmas present I probably cherished the most.

Think, if you will, of the best present you have received over the years and probably have use of it today. It probably didn’t cost very much, and maybe it wasn’t even wrapped in traditional Christmas fashion, but it meant so much to you at one time of your life.

In my case, it was a Badger shaving brush and cup given to me by my Uncle Ralph (Yeah, I was named after him) on my 15th Christmas. At age 15, if you guys can remember that far back, you and I started to get some fuzz on our faces, and the sign of manhood approaching.

Well, as you would know it, I used the brush for the first time, probably when no one was around, nicking my face in several places, and toilet paper stopping the bleeding. Yep, some family member probably told you to put some milk on your face and let the cat take off your two or three so-called whiskers.

Why, you may ask, is this a big deal? The big deal is this! Seventy-five years later, I’m still using the same Badger shaving brush. Although the bristles are almost down to the handle, I have yet to shave with any other method. When I think about it, it has traveled all over the country and survived four years in the military service.

I guess I’m telling this story ‘cause some presents do not have to be expensive, and at the time, may not have meant a great deal, but to me, it continues to be a BIG deal. Just maybe, you have a story to tell, and perhaps this has jogged your memory.

In closing, may I take this opportunity to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, trusting all of you will remember whose birthday it is, and taking the time to thank Him for all the presents He has bestowed on us in our lifetime.

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Ralph J. Ayers of Newburyport calls himself a “local yokel.”