Short List

Randa and I were sitting at the small dining table, playing cards with her daughter and son during the Thanksgiving holiday. Jay’s kids were upstairs playing video games when Christy’s oldest son walked by on his way to better entertainment. Randa stopped him with a quick hug around his waist, “What do you want for Christmas, Hunter?”

The thirteen-year-old replied quickly, “I already have an iPhone and we have a PlayStation so there’s really not anything else I need…” Here, his voice trailed off and Hunter stood there in thought.

I joined him, since there seemed to be plenty of room for both of us. “This is pretty neat,” I reflected silently, “Here’s a kid who obviously hasn’t been spending most of his waking hours thinking about all the stuff that he doesn’t have and doesn’t need but wants anyway.” As he stood there, looking down at the floor and scanning through his mental files, I thought, “Maybe there is hope for this generation.”

In a moment of quick conviction, I remembered the things that I would have wanted at that age, all the pages of the Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs that were filled with pictures and prices of things that I would never have but would hear my classmates at school talking about after Christmas break. I remembered the old rusty rim of the basketball goal in our back yard. Its few tatters of what was once a net drooped down from one side of the goal. The split and weathered planks of the backboard seemed to lose another piece every time Paul or I made a hard bank shot and the post wobbled in a hard wind. If we’d had a new goal and backboard, we’d have thought we were princes of the kingdom.

I was pretty sure that Hunter’s lack of a quick list was a sign of appreciation and contentment, not an indication of spoiled affluence. That’s the funny thing about many of the affluent; they can always think of a few other things they’d really like to have.

Just as I was about to launch into some socio-economic, philosophical exposition, Hunter’s frown vanished and his eyes lit up. “Maybe a new basketball,” he suggested, “or a football.”

I’m sure of it; there is hope for this generation.

H. Arnett


About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Blair, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-five years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-one grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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