Christmas 1974Christmas has been a little strange this year. We’re in the midst of moving to a new town so I can start a new job. Which means traveling to see family was a no-go. Then it was 70 degrees over the weekend, and we had windows open on Christmas Day.

Not very festive.

We did get a tree up and planned a nice Christmas dinner before I began dismantling the kitchen. But somehow it just didn’t feel like Christmas.

Then, on Christmas Eve, a friend tagged me on Facebook. A bookstore in my hometown of Buckhannon, WV, did something really special this year. Here’s what they posted on December 23rd:

“Free Children and Adult Books. If your Christmas presents around the tree are feeling a little light during this tough year, please stop by Argo Books tomorrow from 10 AM to 2 PM. We are donating $250 in free books and toys for our community. Choose anything in the store up to $30. Tell the cashier you’re “Larry’s friend” and you won’t be charged. Confidential help. First come, first served. We want to honor Larry Loudin, who had a joyous Christmas Spirit and left our town much too soon.”

Yeah. Larry is my dad. And to say he had a joyous Christmas Spirit is the TRUTH. Singing Christmas carols in the car is something we kept doing right upSanta to the end. Christmas meant popcorn balls, peanut butter penuche (fudge), the ornament he’d had since he was four that he always hung on the tree last, the Christmas puzzle we worked every year even after we lost a few pieces, Florida oranges, cookies from Swiss Colony, visits to family . . .

This is my second Christmas without him and my first time moving anywhere without his help. Knowing he’s still remembered and even celebrated in a way is the best present I could have this year. Dad was happiest when he was helping people. And look at that . . . he still is. Thank you, Argo Books.