A true Christmas Story:
Christmas in Arizona
It was November of 1997 when my husband, Rick decided we needed a vacation away from our problems. He and his brother had inherited property in Fort Mohave, Arizona when their father died. We thought the property most likely needed some sprucing up before it was put on the market for sale. Therefore, that’s where we headed for three months in our Jeep and our big red dog named Taz. It took many hours to get from Rogue River, Oregon to Arizona, but we were just happy to be headed for a warmer climate for the winter.
Once we arrived, we found that some teenagers had broken into the mobile home and destroyed it. There was a two-car garage attached to the mobile and unharmed. Therefore, we insulated it, and decided that’s where we’d live for the next three months.
We didn’t have much money, so we went to a thrift store and bought a used mattress, used thirteen inch TV, bedding, and camping gear, including a kerosene heater. Once we had the electricity turned on, we were so happy to discover the fridge in the mobile worked. Most of the time we cooked on a campfire and we took showers at Rick’s cousin’s house, seven miles away.
We spent most of our time burning trash and sightseeing. There was an old swing set on the property. It was in good condition. It had three swings and a slide. The only thing it was in need of was a fresh coat of paint. We decided to put it near the roadway with a sign on it we’d made, using cardboard. The sign read, “FREE”.
The next day, while we were sitting by our campfire, a young man, driving an old rusted pickup truck; stopped by the swing set. He got two little girls out of the truck and they were looking at the swing set. The little girls were around three and four years old. Their little dresses were torn and dirty, just like they’re adorable little faces, and they were barefoot. The father saw us and shouted, “Is this swing set still free?”
We walked over to the three and Rick told him it was free if they wanted it. The father looked at his little girls and said, “Well, girls. I could paint it and then you’d both have a Christmas present. What do ya say?” The little girls smiled up at their father and shook their heads.
After Rick helped the young father load the swing set into the back of the truck, the little ones looked up at Rick and said, “Merry Christmas, Mister.” We both wished them all a merry Christmas and they went on their way.