Boy am I ready for this year to be over.

2016 has been lame.  Real lame.  Everyone I know agrees that this year has been a PDC* year.

*PDC = Pretty Darn Crummy

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G’bye, stupid year.

For me, I lost my job which is fine but I also lost my sister, which was not fine.

(Last week I was visiting a friend, and her husband mentioned):

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And I was like:

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Poor guy.

Frankly I don’t know how old people do it.  Everybody they know is dying all the time.  That has to be the worst.  How do you do it, old people???!?!?

I think it’s because old people have had really hard lives.  They essentially grew up selling matches in alleyways like this:

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And that gives you GRIT.

If you don’t believe me…ask your grandma or grandpa what their Christmas was like.  They’ll tell you.  Oh, they will tell you, and suddenly you’ll feel like a PBW*.

*Pretty Big Whiner

All I had to do was ask my coworkers about their grandparents’ Christmas.  Bryan told me his.

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So Bryan’s grandpa grew up in New York, poor.  Real poor.  They were in fact so poor, they couldn’t afford a Christmas tree one year.

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But they did have a green chair.

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So they put the chair in a corner and decorated it.

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Merry Christmas.

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(This kind of puts the Charlie Brown Christmas tree to shame, right?  Not even a little love is going to make this less pathetic.)

My other coworker (also named Bryan, we call him “Other Bryan”) had a story about his grandpa, too.

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This isn’t even a joke.

Bryan’s great-grandfather worked in East Tennessee, in the coal railyards.  In the late ’30s/early ’40s, work was pretty scarce because a lot of the coal miners were on strike, so money was super tight for their family.

But then the war happened and coal was in high demand, and his great-grandfather worked extra shifts and overtime, getting the coal moving.

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Now his great-grandfather had been a warm, kind man until his 12-year-old daughter had died of meningitis, and that kind of changed him.  He was cranky and mean for the rest of his life.  His kids used to climb trees to avoid him.

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But that year, 1942, Bryan’s grandpa wouldn’t let his dad’s crabbiness get to him because he knew that his dad had been working extra, and had $50 dollars.  A fortune back then!  He knew this Christmas was going to be…swell.

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…Until he discovered that his father spent the entire $50 dollars on garden fertilizer from a man named B.S. Bradley.

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(I’ll let you guess what the B.S. stands for.  Heh heh.)

For the rest of his life, Bryan’s grandpa would tell everyone how he only got a giant pile of poo for Christmas.

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Sad.

(Kinda.)

That’s not exactly the whole story.

After asking other relatives, and even looking up the East Tennessee census, Bryan discovered that B.S. Bradley had been unemployed for a while.  He and his five little kids lived in a tiny home with broken windows, which they boarded up every winter to keep the freezing wind out.  His great-grandfather was adamant about getting the fertilizer before Christmas.

So I guess his great-grandfather still did have a warm heart.

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(Apparently their garden that next year was pretty awesome, too.)

Here’s one from my own family.

My mom grew up PDP*.  Her dad had type I diabetes and was often sick.  Her mom–who had never graduated high school–raised 9 kids while working any job she could to support a family.

*Pretty Darn Poor

(And my grandma is a HARD WORKER.  She does not slow down…I want to be like her one day.)

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My mom said it would get so cold in the house, she would sometimes lie in bed and blow out to see her breath.

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She also remembered how my grandma would cry, after collectors called.  (And they were always calling.)

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They had it rough.

But there was a family who lived up Spanish Fork canyon, the Pratt’s, who had it even rougher than my mom’s family.

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They had thirteen kids and the dad had been out of work for a while, and they had nothing.  There was no way they’d be able to have Christmas that year.

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Until…

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My mom’s family, the Boekweg’s, showed up at their door.  Each of their kids had a small wrapped present for every one of the Pratt kids.

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Somehow my grandma had manage to scrape together enough money to give a Christmas to the Pratt’s.  It probably meant her own family would be without Christmas.  But they gave it anyway.

I only know this story because when I lived in Orem, I ended up in the same ward as Sister Pratt!  She told me–with tears in her eyes–how much that meant to her, even years later.

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I guess that explains why my mom is the most selfless person I know!

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We’re pretty spoiled.

I guess I can’t be too down on 2016.  I sit in my warm house and look at my tree, think about my cupboards full of food, the clothes I have, my friends and family, and I feel PDG.

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(Pretty Darn Grateful)


Congratulations to the Nutcracker winners!  (And thank you, everyone, for your kind comments!  I know I’m lame at responding, but I read every single one of them and feel honored :)

The winners are:  Charissa, Bill Giles, and Janet!  WOOOO!!  Congratulations, guys!  I’ll be sending you your Nutcracker prints right away!

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