|The Julian & Ina Dobson Family, c. 1912|
Like any mother of her era, Ina took pride in having raised children to adulthood, and now that her nest was empty, she missed that role. Ina wished that her children would come home for Christmas so that she might share with them again that happy celebration. But – it was not to be. The distances were too great, the farm too remote, the travel too difficult, and times too hard.
So, it had finally come to this – Christmas 1934 would be celebrated without any of her children at home.
But Ina loved Christmas and knew how to make a magic celebration in hard times. There would be gifts and remembrances, visiting and feasting, and lots of fun.
Ina believed in the importance of exchanging gifts with her family at Christmas. She thought of both giving and receiving as Christian virtues. Every year she gave of her storehouse. Most gifts were not new. Most gifts would not satisfy the recipient’s wishes. That didn’t matter. Unselfish giving was her part, and she fulfilled it. And she expected her children to share with her in like manner – imaginatively – though she knew they didn’t quite see it her way. But not to exchange gifts? Unthinkable!
And then sometimes there would be a delightful surprise. This year, after opening the box from Ethel, as she was clearing away the packaging, Ina discovered a small, flat folder tucked into the string on the bottom of Ethel’s box. It was magic! The folder contained a lovely handkerchief from an acquaintance including a newsy letter.
“Yes,” thought Ina happily to herself, “people can do things like this, and it helps to make a memorable Christmas.” KW
Tuesday, Dec. 22, 1896 -- on this date at Gilbert:
This A.M. the same ones helped me finish laying up the body of my house. The day has been fine with a light wind from the east.
~M. L. Dickson