Note: This was originally posted in 2008. It is one of my favorite Christmas stories because it brings back the magic of Christmas that most of us had long, long ago.
I grew up in a large family. There were seven kids plus my mom and dad. My dad was the only one who worked, as was the norm in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. My dad drove a fork lift at one of the local canneries. The only way there would ever be any money for Christmas gifts was for my mother to save money in a Christmas Club account at the local Bank of America where she made a weekly deposit.
One year my brother David, who was about eight years old that year, fell in love with a toy he saw on a TV commercial. It was a cannon that shot hard plastic balls. It was called the Mighty Mo. The commercials showed the Mighty Mo crawling over and through rough terrain all on a miniature scale, of course, but it looked really neat. The clincher was the footage of the cannon balls launching out of the Mighty Mo!
David had to have one but we were taught to not ask for anything, not even for our birthdays or Christmas so he couldn’t ask for one. We lived a block away from Safeway and my mom used to send us on daily trips for the odd supply she needed before the next week’s big grocery trip. Safeway carried a few toys then. They placed them on the shelves high above the produce department as those shelves were normally empty. On one of the trips to get something for my mom, David was thrilled to discover that Safeway had about two dozen Mighty Mos on their shelves! After that day, David volunteered to go to Safeway every single time my mom needed something.
Every day David returned from his Safeway run to report exactly how many Mighty Mos were left on the shelf and every day, as the number dwindled, he gave my mom his report in a sadder and sadder tone. First there had been two dozen then only eighteen. Soon there were less than a dozen and when there were only four left, David was really sad. About three days before Christmas, David reported, with tears in his eyes, that there were no Mighty Mos left at Safeway. When Christmas arrived, David was the only one of us that was not excited about it. We all wanted him to be happy like we were but nothing got him excited.
On Christmas morning, we got up and my big brothers helped us girls get dressed and ready to go upstairs to open presents. That’s what we did each year because it gave my parents a little extra time to get up. When we got upstairs, David was the last one to go into the living room where the tree was with our Santa gifts unwrapped. When he came in he found us all with huge smiles on our faces and our eyes intent on his face. He didn’t know what was up until he looked under the tree and found his Mighty Mo with a big red ribbon on it!
We all enjoyed that Mighty Mo for several years. David especially liked to shoot the cannon balls out of the Mighty Mo from the top of the stairs in the back yard. It was a fun toy. I only wish my brother David was still around to tell the story himself.