I love Christmas and look forward to spending it with my entire family. I load up all the cats in my Honda and head up 95 so we can deck the halls with holly and be full of jolly with my parents and #32. Now, this might come as a bit of a shocker to some of you but #32 can be a little moo-dee with a capital “M” at times. But it’s okay because we love and accept him the way he is and he is amazing at so many other things! Anyway, I won’t bore you with how he ruined Thanksgiving – in 1994 or 2012 – let’s just say, we weren’t sure how Christmas was going to go.
Christmas morning arrived and #32 didn’t. But as some of us know better than others, #32 operates in his own time zone so we knew he’d get there later or later. When he finally arrived, he did come bearing gifts. Gift cards, that is. I gave him a little credit – at least they were wrapped. I was the recipient of a $25 gift card to Home Depot (not to mention $12.50 of a shared Cheesecake Factory gift card). Not to sound ungrateful but I think my exact reaction can be summed up in this picture circa 1986.
I spent hours making him a cat calendar and all I got was a $25 gift card?! I know – my priorities – not straight. Tis the season not to be greedy!
We’ve got Max on Line 9 of the Sierra Ventana manifest – we know he’s a literate 18 year old single German male traveling in steerage. What else can we find out from the manifest? Let’s look at Columns 15-19. He had a ticket to his final destination in a country to which he had never been before. His passage was paid by his aunt Johanna Toner of Wilmington, Delaware – the same location listed as his final destination. And in Column 17 – “Whether in possession of $50, and if less, how much?”
Line 9 – Max Schellhardt – $25.
An 18 year old immigrant arriving in a brand new country with just $25 in his pocket.
Sometimes, something is worth much more than its face value.
I’m thankful for – and humbled by – that $25.
And I’ll be sure to remember this lesson next Christmas.
Next week – Lies Our Grandpa Might've Told at Ellis Island!