Tom was a carpenter by trade and a woodworker by passion. But times
were tough in 1934. The depression had robbed Tom of much of his
livelihood, so he retreated to his workshop from dawn ’til dusk and often beyond. One evening, while working at his antiquated table saw, his mind wandered to the family’s financial plight, and, losing focus on the task at hand, he accidentally cut off his thumb!
As the holidays approached, Tom’s wife, Rachel, struggled with what kind of Christmas gifts to give her three children: Lisa, the eldest; Willie, the only boy; and Sarah, the youngest of the three. Money was tight, and so she did her best.
Over the years, Tom’s incessant obsession with his woodworking had
begun to wear thin on Rachael. Neither she nor the kids hardly saw Tom, and Rachael began first to resent and then to hate Tom. So she devised a game for distributing the small gifts that would both provide a family activity that would soften the blow of her meager offerings and take out some of her anger on Tom.
Mother and Daddy would take turns choosing who would receive each box. After the gifts were distributed, each family member opened their gift in turn, until Tom’s gift was the only one unopened. You see, Tom was frustrated at his inability to regain proficiency with the more intricate aspects of his woodworking since the loss of his thumb. As Tom opened his gift, Rachael fought to hide her inner satisfaction, and while there was no visible reaction, Tom’s gift received a hearty under-the-table “thumbs up” from Rachael!