The Twelve Days of Christmas
Day Nine...December 22, 2011
Terry Paulson, PhD, CSP, CPAE
On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true friend gave to me...
An opportunity to give to those in need...
This year, each message will be archived on my website, and you can see some past collections of messages by visiting that website now at
A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT FOR THE DAY…"A Gift Every Day"
"Every morning it's Christmas; every night it's Thanksgiving."
–An Anonymous Gift of Insight
…May it be so in your life!
I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY..."A Special Truck Stop"
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had decided to leave. There would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.
I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old '51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel Drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel.
An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour and I could start that night. I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.
As the weeks went by, heating bills added another strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home. One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered.
I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys, and I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.
On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.
When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning I hurried to the car. I was hoping the kids wouldn't wake up before I managed to get home and get the presents from the basement and place them under the tree. As I approached the car, something looked different. When I reached the car I peered warily into one of the side windows. Then my jaw dropped in amazement.
My old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's side door, scrambled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes: There were candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.
As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning. Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.
—This anonymous abbreviated story was forwarded by George Morrisey who got it from Joan Brannick who got it from…. The source is less important than the message. May we never forget that as Christians, we are called to be our brother's keeper. There are many in need this year. Are you a LOVE STOP in your community?
AND NOW YOUR YouTube CHRISTMAS MOMENT...
This November, the Carlson School of Management received a surprise visit from a saxophonist...and nearly 300 of his friends from the University of Minnesota's School of Music. Enjoy this stirring event sent in by Elke LeBeouf.
Remember, You can find the archived messages from this year's series on my website at http://terrypaulson.com/christmas.shtml. For now, keep your sense of humor and your sense of thanksgiving and anticipation! More tomorrow...as we prepare for His coming!
Your Host for our 12 Day Journey to Christmas.
Terry Paulson, PhD