The great Christmas crash

December 19, 2019


A story of love and forgiveness at Christmas.

We were on our way to a Christmas party when one of our sons called my husband in complete hysterics. Within 30 seconds, my phone rang with the other son blubbering and babbling something about it wasn’t his fault! We pulled into a parking lot to get the details and finally deciphered that the curved glass in my giant china cabinet had been shattered. 

The cabinet was a family piece handed down to me from my aunt, who inherited it from my grandparents. I can remember as a little girl looking up in fear at the snarling lion’s heads and the creepy sharp-toed claws at the base. In my world of 70’s orange shag rugs, I didn’t know furniture could be ferocious – and in a beautiful antique way, completely spectacular.  

This is the Christmas photo from that year. They look pretty innocent, right?

The boys were around the age of destruction . . . middle school, and we moved to a house where even though there was a large dining room, there was no space for the china cabinet. We had to situate it at the end of the wide hallway which meant it sat between the boy’s rooms. 

After determining no one was injured or bleeding, we decided to go on to the party and told the boys to just avoid the area and make sure they were wearing shoes. 

This is when the china cabinet sat at the end of the hallway between the boy’s rooms. Since it wasn’t in the dining room, I stored more “curio” things in it – a little science display for the boys. (giant bugs). 

Full of dread, we cut our evening short and returned home to find the cleanest house we’ve ever had. Two very resourceful boys had worked a miracle of vacuuming, sweeping and rearranging. Even the kitchen was clean. The water bowl for the dogs was full and the hand towels in the bathroom had been fluffed. Both little angels were snoring away with eyes tightly closed, surely exhausted from being so perfect. It would have been a trying time for them anyway, but with Christmas just around the corner, they knew the extra pressure of Santa’s “naughty and nice” list made the situation worse.

A small glass company came to assess the damage and never bothered to return. When I tracked them down, they said it was hopeless and wouldn’t even attempt a repair. The boys put their heads and piggy banks together and offered us everything they had. With lots of hot tears and true remorse, they made a schedule for working off the rest, assuming the repair would be millions of dollars. 

The story emerged that the eldest had made the youngest one angry (not nice) so the youngest picked up the first object he saw in his room, which, like most boys, was a can of WD-40, and threw it at the ground (not smart and a lack of self-control). The can ricocheted off the floor and into the glass, which caused them to go into frenzied screams of panic. 

The boys were saved when their genius dad (my hero), traced the curve of the glass, sent the measurements to a large out of town glass company and installed the new pane himself. The bill came to under $100. 

Let heaven and nature sing! The tension was gone. When the boys felt doomed, and their life savings couldn’t redeem them, their father stepped in to provide the way out of trouble. When all seemed dreary, their Dad mirrored the Christmas story by offering hope, wrapped in unconditional forgiveness, peace and love that covered their sin. Then, we moved that china cabinet to a different location and felt the real joy of the season begin.

This story first appeared in papers – The Press Register, The Birmingham News and The Huntsville Times.

  • This will be a Christmas story passed down from generations to generations! One of those “we’ll laugh about it someday” stories. But your heart must have sank when it happened. It is a beautiful cabinet! My mother-in-law had one that was more plain jane than yours but now it is treasured by our eldest son and his wife. I bet someday you’ll be watching for delight in the eyes of a daughter-in-law when she first sees it so you’ll know who to pass it on to. Or does one of your sons already have a soft spot for the cabinet?

    • How true! We worked so hard to keep it safe while we moved it each time, then, one can of WD-40 did it in. More memories and stories yet to come I’m sure!

  • Oh no, those poor little boys! We had a similar situation, our young son, about tired from a long day of school flipped his foot to rid it of its shoe which flew across the room and right through a glass cabinet. Before dad came home he’d already counted out his savings to pay off the damage. LOL, dad was very understanding and calmly made a plan for payback, not your savings. I can only imagine your terror as both boys calling and upset. Thankfully, in both instances no one was hurt.

    • You son had an accident, our sons lost their tempers. Good dads in both cases, which we are thankful for!

  • I love this story! Remorseful little boys trying to stay off the naughty list. And a genius husband who fixed the problem. When my brother and I were about 9 and 10, my parents left us with the babysitter to attend a party. My parents had just finished completely gutting and renovating our house, about 1962. My knucklehead brother dropped a bottle of mecurichrome on Mama’s brand new, white ceramic tile bathroom floor. The baby sitter was hysterical because, despite all her mopping, the entire floor was pink. That was nothing compared to my mother crying when she saw it. Some things you just never forget. Daddy to the rescue here too when he had the tile company come out to clean it. I’m sure your sons always will remember their story too!

    • Oh, I remember mecurichrome. Ouch! What a mess it must have made! You poor thing — and poor babysitter!

  • LOL Thank goodness for Daddies!!!
    This reminded me of the time an unwanted neighborhood cat visited our screened-in back porch… looking for my sweet kitty.
    I grabbed the closest thing in my kitchen, a baking potato, and yanked open my back door and threw it at my unwanted visitor!
    I was so dismayed when I realized that not only did I miss the cat, but the potato first hit the floor, then ricochet, and hit the panel on the bottom of the screened in door and rumpled and knocked a hole in the bottom! …I’ve never thrown another potato at anything in my life!!!

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