The Christmas Bowl

This is a very short-short story I’ve been crafting for the past week with hopes of completing it in time for the holidays. With that said, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, may you receive all that you wish for and all that you need.

Shopping for Christmas gifts has always felt like a chore, especially when I was a kid. While in 8th grade, I was stuck for an idea about what I should get Mom.

It was on a trip to town, and a visit to the Ben Franklin store that I saw, what I believed was the perfect gift for her; a large bowl decorated with Christmas trees. I thought it would be great for holding Mom’s dinner biscuits, breakfast muffins or perhaps her family famous mashed potatoes.

On Christmas day, she opened my gift to her and thanked me with a kiss on the forehead, saying, “I really need this Christmas bowl.”

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t need it all that badly. She placed it a top of her china cabinet, in the corner of the dining room – never once using it.

When she and Dad divorced some seven-years later, the Christmas bowl, as it had come to be known, moved with her. I was surprised to see it resting on top of her china cabinet once again after she settled into a rental.

Twenty-one years later, and having long since gotten beyond the hurt of her never having used it for anything other than decoration, I finally asked her why. I could tell my question left a sense of sadness in her as she sat across from me at her dining table.

“I thought you knew,” she answered. “That’s not jus’ a Christmas bowl to me, that’s my ‘need’ bowl.”

“I don’t understand,” I interrupted.

Smiling now, Mom explained, “As long as it’s empty – all my needs are met.”

That was one of our last face-to-face conversations, and ironically it was also at Christmastime; Mom died six months later. After she passed away, the Christmas bowl was handed down to me.

And now it sits — unused — atop my wife’s china-hutch, because all of our needs are met.

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