On Monday I shared about a young mom and daughter at a restaurant we went to in Winters, CA.
The next morning Denise had a comment on her Facebook about my sharing that story. She also shared a remembrance she still has of our time alone when someone helped make a Christmas a little brighter. In part she said: "I still remember that Christmas you came home with a Christmas tree".
It was a struggle most of the time, making sure I was able to provide for Denise. She and I were living in Fresno and I had gotten a job through SETA with Fresno County. I had a temp job first in Vital Statistics, then was able to get a permanent position with the County at the Main Branch of the Library. I was one of 5 people in the Acquisitions Department, 3 clerks, 1 accounts clerk and our supervisor. One of the clerks was a woman in her 50's who had worked for the county for a lot of years. She also had been transferred to several departments and Acquisitions was kind of the last resort. She was a good worker, however she kind of made her own rules and so consequently there was always a lot of friction between she and her supervisors.
She was always at least 20 minutes late every day, took long breaks and lunches. Very few people got along with her, I was the only one in our department that she was actually friendly to and I didn't have any problems with her. She knew I was a single mom and because she had once been one too, she could relate.
It was Christmas 1978. It would be another bleak one for Denise and I. A few days before Christmas, she was late again and when she walked into the department, she told me to come with her to her car. I said I probably should say something to our supervisor first and she told me to just come. She also asked the account clerk to come with us (he was a guy and they clashed all the time). So we followed her to her car. She opened up the trunk of her car and there was a Christmas tree in there which she asked the account clerk to put in my car. She was parked right next to me. She also took out a couple of bags filled with decorations for the tree, and a bag of gifts for Denise to put under the tree. I was absolutely flabbergasted and could not imagine why she would do that for anyone much less me. We walked back to the building and when we got to our department, our supervisor called me into her office. She wanted to know where we had all gone. When I told her what had happened, she couldn't believe it either. I told her I would consider the time away from my desk as my morning break; my supervisor told me not to worry about it.
As I walked back to my desk, this co-worker called me over to my desk and handed me some money. I did not want to take it, she had already done so much for Denise and I. She told me it was for our Christmas dinner and whatever else we may need or want.
Needless to say, Denise was excited to see what I had brought home. She and I set up our tree and decorated it with all the trimmings the co-worker had given me. She even included a tree stand. And there were presents to put under the tree.
This co-worker would do other things for us during the time I worked in the main branch. We all found out that underneath all the ugliness and being so uncooperative, was a person who did not hesitate to show kindness to someone who needed an extra helping hand. I hadn't thought about this co-worker in 30 plus years; I will always be thankful for the kindness she showed Denise and I.
I'm amazed that Denise remembers that particular event in our lives. I realized later on in my life that a God whom I had turned my back on during that particular time in my life, was keeping watch over Denise and I. He always brought a helping hand into our lives just when we needed it.
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