Christmas gifts have all been opened. Santa has filled the stockings and headed the reindeers to the North Pole. A New Year has arrived, and we must remember to write 2024 with date. All was appreciated and enjoyed. One gift will stay with you forever and touch your heart with each memory. La’Rose Tapley’s column Christmas Memories, took my thoughts to a young boy and girl who were freshman at SHS the same time as I was a senior. They were already a couple who would know the sweetness of love through sixty years of marriage. At Christmas, her eyes still fill with tears as she recalls the tale of his childhood of “growing up poor and knowing it.” I had never recognized the difference in “growing up poor and knowing and not knowing”. My memory surely included many who were growing up poor and knew from their hardships. I bought many boiled or parched peanuts from young boys on the streets of Swainsboro and never gave a thought to why the boy was selling peanuts on the street. My pockets usually held a nickel or two, so I am sure I bought rice crispy bars also. Yes, I did not know if my family was considered poor—but if so, I never had a clue. The boy’s Christmas was a scant tree cut from the woods, decorated with homemade ornaments and no wrapped gifts. He painfully described returning to school after holidays, and the teacher allowed everyone to tell what Santa had brought. However, I remember my most beloved sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Barney Price, knew difference between knowing and not knowing. She told the class, “No gifts or toys but tell us one thing you loved about Christmas.” The boy’s prosperity changed in the future when he could work and earn to buy new clothes, help out his mother, and buy a gold ring with pearls for his sweetheart. Thank you La’Rose for giving us the gift of your memories of the love you were blessed with Sollie for almost your entire life. The gift of love stays with us forever.