Years later, when Jim (no longer called Jimmy) came home from college for the holidays, we were out Christmas shopping together. I said to him, “Do you remember asking for a Noah’s ark for Christmas when you were little?”
“I did?” he said. “I don’t remember that at all.”
“Yes, it was terrible. I searched and searched and couldn’t find one. I had to settle on a book instead.”
Teasing me he said, “Oh, yes I remember now. I was devastated that year. I wanted a Noah’s ark so bad and all I got was a lousy book.”
Immediately the wheels in my brain began to turn and a plan was hatched. That year I easily found a Noah’s ark set. I wrapped it up with Jim’s name on it and put a big sign on it that said, “Fell off Santa’s sleigh Dec. 24, 1977.” I put it toward the back of the tree and waited until he had opened all his gifts. Then, I handed it to him with a big smile. He read the note, looked so confused, and said “What the heck?” As he realized what I had done, his face lit up with a smile and he laughed saying, “This is the best present I ever got.”
Once, my husband Jim and I were visiting friends. Displayed in their home was a lovely ceramic knick-knack of two little girls sitting on a bench. One of the girls was white, the other black. The little black girl was playing with a white doll and the little white girl was playing with a black doll. I don’t know if it was the story of Colleen and her black doll or that we had adopted children who were African American but Jim fell in love with it and the message it conveyed.