The year was 1987, long before the start of the digital age when everything is at our fingertips. My dad decided everyone in the family needed a dictionary so he went out and bought nice desk dictionaries for everyone for Christmas, including himself. This was a true act of love because my father did not go Christmas shopping ordinarily.
My youngest son Jeff, was a senior in high school that year and really needed the big book. He put it in his back pack and carried it everywhere. As time went on he used it more and more. He could have chosen a smaller paperback version but he wanted the big heavy dictionary.
When he began college the following year, the dictionary became even more important to him. One day he told me he had to write a paper for his English class about a gift he had received that at the time didn’t seem like much but that become very valuable. He decided to write about the dictionary.
Education was very important to my dad, he came from a long line of teachers. We told him about Jeff’s paper and he was so happy. My dad was quite ill by this time and 1988 was to be his last Christmas. Every visitor who came to the house got to hear him proudly tell his Christmas story about the dictionary. The story even became part of his eulogy several months later.
Following my dad’s death my mother gave his dictionary to the minister who had given the eulogy who was also a personal friend. Several years later that same minister was assigned to our church congregation in Richmond and he performed the marriage ceremony for Jeff and Mary, his high school sweetheart.
A few years later that same minister baptized Jeff and Mary’s first child, Collin. Following the service he presented my dad’s dictionary, along with a Bible to Jeff to be given to Collin when he got older. The circle of life and love.