Love your neighbor as yourself. Romans 13:9
When I close my eyes and think of my child hood the deepest memories of Christmas come flooding back. I see her…I affectionately called her “Neighbor.” Her real name was Connie Lee Jones.
As a child I wanted to buy my mom a gift for Christmas but as a family who was already beyond poor I didn’t have a nickel to my name. That didn’t stop me however because as God would have it… sitting right beside the home I grew up in was a buy, sell and trade antique shop called Buffalo Prairie Trading Post owned and operated by Connie Lee Jones.
As a little boy who could barely see over the glass counters that displayed treasures from all over the world. I would bring in a trinket or toy straight from my toy box and ask Connie “How much for this?” She would think and look at the item and look back at me and look at the item and then would give me the fair price. I can still smell the shop. I remember the sound of the Christmas bells hanging on the door when I would walk in and she would always have a plate of Christmas cookies. I didn’t have gloves but would pull off the socks that covered my cold hands and after hearing the amount of money I had been given to spend I was SO excited! I would then spend the next hour looking throughout her entire store for just the perfect present for my mom for Christmas. Surely THIS would make her happy and give her the JOY she needed. I would walk the floors of that old creaky shop so long Connie would eventually shut the “Open” sign off and lock up just to let me browse. I would holler from the back room “How much do i have?” She would lovingly remind me. Finally after finding just the perfect gift I would lay it on the counter and then she would spend the next fifteen to twenty minutes wrapping my treasured find. The “just perfect gift” with brown paper and ribbon for my mom! Out the door I would run in the snow making a bee line for my house. I remember the snow, the moon and the glowing Christmas tree through the window of the old broken down trailer knowing that this gift that I held would truly give my mom the best Christmas ever. I lost complete contact with Connie over the years and then just last week, I found out my child hood “Neighbor” passed away on the exact same day as her birthday. Tears, laughs, memories came flooding to my mind that only her and I shared and the reminder from the Holy Spirit that She is now spending Christmas with JESUS this year. I love you Connie Lee Jones! Thank you for giving me and my family so many sweet Christmas memories. No more buy, sell or trade for you. You’re in a mansion filled with all your hearts desires. The songs you spent hours writing to your Savior you can now sing to Him face to face. Say hello to my dad will you? Love you my sweet friend and see you soon, I know you’ll be waiting for me.