The tree is trimmed. The cards taped to the
door frame. The boxes stacked in glittering
disarray under the tree.
Why don’t I hear chimes?
Remember the small boy who made the chimes
ring in a fictional story years ago?
legend went, the chimes would not ring
unless a gift of love was placed on the
Kings and men of great wealth placed
untold jewels there, but year after year the
church remained silent.
Then one Christmas Eve, a small child in a
tattered coat made his way down the aisle,
and without anyone noticing he took off his
coat and placed it on the altar.
rang out joyously throughout the land to
mark the unselfish giving of a small boy.
I used to hear chimes.
I heard them the year I got a shoe box that
contained two baseball cards and the gum was
still with them.
I heard them the Christmas they all got
together and cleaned the garage.
They’re gone, aren’t they? The years of the
lace doilies fashioned into snowflakes … the
hands traced in plaster of paris … the
Christmas trees of pipe cleaners … the
thread spools that held small candles.
The childish decision of when to break the
ceramic piggy bank with a hammer to spring
the 59 cents is now resolved by a credit
The muted thump of pajama-covered feet
padding down the stairs to tuck her homemade
crumb scrapers beneath the tree has given
way to pantyhose and fashion boots to the
It’ll be a good Christmas. We’ll eat too
much. Make a mess in the living room. Throw
the warranties into the fire by mistake.
Drive the dog crazy taping bows to his tail.
Return cookies to the plate with a bite out
of them. Listen to Christmas music.
But Lord … what I would give to bend low and
receive a gift of toothpicks and library
paste and hear the chimes just one more
written by Erma Bombeck