Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Silver Packages

Tonight, oh, what torture. We read aloud. At my family's Christmas gathering, after all the food was eaten and all the gifts given, we read this book, Silver Packages. It is an Appalachian Christmas story and made us all sit there crying and passing the book to the next person.

Many years ago, I lost a brother, as some of you already know. Well, ever since then, my paternal grandmother has sent/given books to my mama each year. Beatiful picture books to be read aloud and enjoyed by all. We got all kinds of good books. Books about heaven and family and love and peace and all kinds of liberal, big-hearted stuff. Apparently this was one such book. It had a little note from Gramere in the front.

(Inconsequential tidbit: This year, my bother Justus and his girlfriend Andreina have little silver ornaments on their tree that remind sweet Justus of this book.)

Silver Packages is about a very poor Appalachian community and a man who comes on a train each Christmas to throw packages wrapped in silver paper to the children of the community. One little boy longs for a doctor kit, but instead gets mittens and socks and little toys year after year. However, as an adult, he returns to the town... with his real doctor kit.

Here's a review I was delighted to find:

Having lived in Appalachia for many years, I was excited to read a book based upon the efforts of "The Santa Train." (Which does exist, and which uses the means described in the story). The real train traverses areas of West Virginia and Kentucky every December, and provides a semblance of Christmas to children in some of America's poorest communities. This story elegantly captures the essece of the spiritual reality behind the experience as well as the sense of rootedness and community that ties the region together. I am a chaplain now, living in the midwest, and every Christmas I read it to children at the hospital where I work. They understand it immediately, and find it to be healing, hopeful, and helpful.

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