I loved Christmas mornings as a boy. Waking up on Christmas morning my brother and I would run into our living room and stare with great joy at the lighted Christmas tree surrounded with presents. Some years a new Schwinn bicycle might appear under the tree. I could barely contain my joy on Christmas mornings. What I did not know until years later was how my parents paid for all this Christmas joy when dad had no work.
Each fall, after the hunting season was over and construction work began to slow down, my dad would visit the local pawnshop. Dad would pawn his deer rifle, shotgun and binoculars. From this yearly pawnshop transaction my father would get enough money to purchase gifts for his wife and kids.
As a young boy, I assumed in my youthful innocence, that the deer rifles, shotguns and binoculars of every other family in our neighborhood also disappeared in the fall and then magically reappeared in the spring.
Dad’s yearly trips to the pawnshop taught me that father’s sacrifice their most precious possessions to bring joy to the life of the ones they love. My father died in the late 1980’s. Upon his death, I inherited his shotgun and my brother was given our father's deer rifle.
To this day when I hold dad’s shotgun, I am taken back many decades to imagine a visit to a pawnshop where my father gave up something special so that I could experience the joy of a little boy’s Christmas morning. This is what fathers do for their children. Fathers birth joy in their sacrifice.