Many years ago the Florida Times-Union invited readers to share a Christmas memory, which I did. The following article was published on Christmas Day. The doll, which is the subject of this story, is still on the shelf of my closet.
The small West Texas town where I spent my elementary school days was a nice place to live, but most people wouldn’t plan to vacation there. You would not find any lavish shopping malls or tourist attractions or specialized medical and dental care.
In fact, our family’s bi-yearly trips to the dentist were made to Lubbock—80 miles away. Since it was such an undertaking to make the trip, we always rewarded ourselves with lunch at Furr’s Cafeteria (where we ate Texas Millionaire Pie, but that’s another story) and a shopping spree.
It was on one of these trips, when I was 8-years-old, that I found her—the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. She was dressed in a white snowsuit. The pink trim around the hood bordered her golden hair and high-lighted her tender brown eyes.
I loved her instantly and dared to pick her up since her clothes were soiled and she had certainly been cuddled before. I showed her to my parents and told them I would save the $6 needed to buy her and take her home after our next trip to the dentist in January.
Through all the long weeks of autumn, I saved and counted and recounted pennies. But I was never able to buy that doll and bring her to my house.
When I woke up Christmas morning, there was a large box wrapped in pink paper with a paper angel on top of the ribbon. I opened the box and cried for joy. There she was.
I was even happier when my mother told me that this was the very doll I had held in my arms those long weeks ago. All the other “just like her” had been purchased and taken away while she waited for me.
How my parents managed to purchase the doll without my seeing, get her into the car and bring her home, how my mother washed the soiled clothes, hung them out to dry, redressed the doll, wrapped her up, and put her under the tree without my having the smallest hint, I will always wonder.
I will never wonder why.