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一个信封的故事The small white envelope
| 文章来源:英语点津 | 文章录入:随心飞扬 | 收集整理:嘉兴英语教学网 | 更新时间:2012-7-26 |
我家的圣诞树上挂着一张小小的白色信封。上面既没有收信人的名字和寄信人的签名、也没有任何提示。它挂在我家的圣诞树上已经十多年了。一切都因丈夫迈克对圣诞的憎恨而起……

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. He didn't hate the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it; overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma and the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."

Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition, one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, three more joined it. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

我家的圣诞树上挂着一张小小的白色信封。上面既没有收信人的名字和寄信人的签名、也没有任何提示。它挂在我家的圣诞树上已经十多年了。

一切都因丈夫迈克对圣诞的憎恨而起。他并不憎恨圣诞节本身的意义,但他讨厌圣诞被商业化了。人们大把大把地花钱;在除夕夜的最后一分钟,围着圈不顾一切地跑去为哈里大叔抢些彩带,为外祖母手抢些彩粉;疯狂地瓜分礼物,把一切都抛在脑后。

正是因为知道他的这种感受,于是有一年我决定打破常规(平时都送些衬衣呀、毛衣或是领带等礼物)。我为迈克准备了一些特别的东西。灵感是有来历的。

那年我们的儿子凯文十二岁,在学校摔跤队的初级班里接受训练。圣诞节前夕,学校安排了一场非联赛的比赛,对手是本市教会资助的一只队伍,他们大部分队员都是黑人。

这些小伙子们穿着破烂不堪的运动鞋,唯一能够绑在脚上的仿佛只有那条鞋带。而与之形成鲜明对比的是我们的孩子,他们身披金蓝相间的制服,脚蹬崭新的摔跤鞋,显得分外耀眼。

比赛开始了,我惊异地发现对方选手在摔跤的时候没有带专业头盔,只有一种好象质地很薄的帽子保护着选手的耳朵。

对贫民队来说买一顶头盔显然是一种奢侈。毫无疑问我们以绝对的优势获胜,并取得了每个级别的冠军。比赛结束了,他们队的每个男孩从地毯上爬起来,在溃败的失意中昂首阔步装出一副获胜的样子,流露出像街头地痞一样的骄横和蛮不讲理。

坐在我身旁的迈克伤心地摇摇头说道:“我真希望他们其中一个可以赢。他们很有潜力,但是就这样输掉了比赛就等于输掉了他们的信心。”

迈克爱孩子——所有的孩子。他曾带过小型的联赛橄榄球队,棒球队和长曲棍球队,所以他了解他们。而我的灵感也由此而发。

当天下午,我就到本地的一家运动用品商店买了摔跤专用的头盔和鞋子,并以匿名的形式把礼物送到了本市的教会。

那个圣诞夜,我把一个信封挂在圣诞树上,里面写着我做的事情,并告诉迈克这是我送给他的礼物。他的笑容是那年圣诞节最明亮的饰物,多少年来那笑容还一直延续着。

每年的圣诞节,我都沿袭了这个传统。我曾送给一群智障儿童一副曲棍球,也曾送给一对年老的兄弟一张支票,因为圣诞节的前一个星期大火烧毁了他们的房子。等等,等等。

在我家,拆信成了圣诞节的亮点。圣诞节的早晨,那封信总是我们最后拆开的礼物,孩子们甚至忘记了他们自己的玩具,站在一旁,瞪着大大的眼睛,满心希望地看着父亲从树上取下信封,然后打开看里面的内容。

孩子们渐渐长大,玩具开始给更具有实用性的礼物让位了,但是信封从未失去它的吸引力。我们的故事永远都不会结束。

现在我们失去了迈克,他患了癌症先我而去。而圣诞依然年年到来,我仍沉浸在失去他的悲伤中,虽然我几乎扶不起圣诞树,但是圣诞夜我仍放一封信在树上。清晨,我看见有三四封信挂在树上。每封都是孩子们挂上去的,对大家都保密,都放了一封信在树上献给他们的父亲。

这个传统在延续,有一天会被我们的孙子传得更远,当他们瞪着大大的眼睛,满怀希望地等待着他们的父亲从树上取下信封。迈克的精神,像圣诞的精神将永远伴随着我们。

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